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Chester County Press

Winterthur Point-to-Point tradition continues on May 6

04/16/2018 12:31PM ● By J. Chambless

Riders race as a hillside full of spectators enjoys the day at Winterthur Point-to-Point.

Winterthur Point-to-Point, the Brandywine Valley’s signature springtime event, celebrates its ruby anniversary this year with a day full of championship horse racing, an antique carriage parade, tailgate picnics, people watching, and other activities.

The first Point-to-Point races at Winterthur took place on May 6, 1979. Searching for a way to use the nearly 1,000 acres of the estate, the trustees decided to present a day of steeplechase racing. Winterthur tractors cut a course through a former cow pasture, and the event was a tremendous success. Reports on attendance varied but the crowd, mostly horsemen and their families and friends dressed in rugged country gear, enjoyed good weather and great racing.

Today, Point-to-Point is a day of fun for all ages, including activities such as stick horse races for children, a parade of River Hills foxhounds, canine capers, and a display of Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars. A highlight of the day is the George A. "Frolic" Weymouth Carriage Parade, named in honor of the late artist and founder of the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art in Chadds Ford.

“Point-to-Point is truly a family tradition, both for spectators and participants,” said Jill S. Abbott, race director. “Today’s owners, trainers, and riders are the children and grandchildren of the 1979 participants, while many of today’s attendees first attended as children.”

Post time for the Isabella du Pont Sharp Memorial, a maiden timber race with a $15,000 purse, is at 2 p.m. The Winterthur Bowl, an open timber race with an anniversary purse of $40,000, takes place at 2:30 p.m. Post time for the Vicmead Plate, an amateur highweight timber race with a $15,000 purse, is at 3 p.m. The steeplechase races are run on a course of approximately three miles, with a total of eight fences that are jumped 17 times. The Middletown Cup, a flat race, begins at 3:30 p.m.

Trophies for the races are adapted from originals in the Winterthur collection. The Alison Hershbell Pony Races, run in two heats, for small and for large ponies, start at noon.

Gates open at 11:30 a.m. Admission must be purchased in advance. Point-to-Point is a rain-or-shine event. No refunds are issued. The event is Winterthur’s largest one-day fundraiser, and proceeds benefit the continued maintenance and preservation of the garden and estate at Winterthur.

For tickets, visit www.winterthur.org/ptp or call 800-448-3883. Admission is $40 for adults. No wristbands will be mailed after April 27. Purchasers will be required to pick up wristbands after April 27 at the Point-to-Point office. Admission is $25 for young adults, ages 12 to 20, and free for children under 12, but children must have wristband for admittance (not available on race day).

General admission is also available in advance at Brew HaHa! (Trolley Square and Greenville locations), Ellie, Houpette (Greenville location), Janssen's Market, ShopRite (Brandywine location) and the Wilmington Country Store.

Visit Winterthur.org/ptp for more details.

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