Willowdale Steeplechases delight spectators05/17/2022 12:32PM ● By Steven Hoffman
The longstanding tradition of the Willowdale Steeplechases continued on May 14 with seven races over fences to the delight of spectators.
The overcast day and impending rain seemed to keep the tailgaters slightly down in number but not in enthusiasm. Among them was Jennifer Enderle from Chester Springs, who was among a group of friends enjoying the event from seats atop their truck.
“This is our spot that we’ve had for several years. We like to eat and drink and watching horses makes it that much better,” Enderle said. “Almost all of us here ride. Some fox hunt, some show, some hack, we do a little e bit of everything.”
A little farther up the hill, antique and classic cars on display had the crowd’s attention between races. One was an all original 1958 T-Bird displayed by Jennifer and Steven Brumfield of Cochranville. The couple are long time visitors to the races, but this is their first time with a car on display.
“This is the first year we’ve really had the opportunity to bring the car,” Steven Brumfield said. He noted that the cars are not in a more central location where more people come to see them. “This is so much better,” he said. “They were kind of parked in the corner where nobody would look at them, so this is so much better. We can see the horses this year. This is great.”
Additional events including terrier races kept visitors entertained while waiting for the races to begin. Tents with boutique sales were joined by Kid’s Alley where making stick horses was a popular activity for the younger crowd, while pony races started the day for junior riders of real horses and ponies.
Out on the racecourse, the featured race of the day was the $35,000 Buttonwood/Sycamore Farm Willowdale Steeplechase. A small field of three horses provided an exciting race for spectators, running closely together until the finish line.
Finishing first was Andi’Amu, owned by Ballybristol Farm LLC’s, trained by Leslie Young and ridden by Freddie Procter. Second was Withoutmoreado, owned by Irvin Naylor, trained by Katherine Neilson and ridden by Skyler McKenna. Also trained by Neilson was third place finisher Awsome Adrian, owned by Nancy Reed, and ridden by Eric Poretz.