CAMDEN — Preparing for a race is similar for horses and people.
Both have to exercise about every day, horse trainer Janet Elliot said this week.
The horses she trains have been participating in routine exercises, like a person training for a marathon, to prepare for The Colonial Cup on Saturday at Springdale Race Course in Camden.
It is one race in a day of seven steeplechase races and is among the most prestigious races of the year, said local trainer Arch Kingsley Jr.
The Colonial Cup is an “open stakes” race, where horses can compete after having won multiple races at high levels, he said.
It is the last race in the circuit, so it also can determine the champion jockey, champion horse and champion owner, Kingsley said.
“It’s like our Super Bowl for steeplechase horse races,” said Teri Teed, the assistant director for Springdale Race Course.
Elliot said The Colonial Cup is one of the longest races on the steeplechase circuit. Most tracks run between 21/8 and 21/2 miles, but the Colonial Cup is 2 3/4 miles, she said.
She also said the dry conditions may have an impact on the outcome, because moisture in the ground makes it easier on horses’ legs and feet. She said some horses prefer harder ground.
Elliot said the track is “a good galloping course.”
Kingsley said the horses he trained for Saturday’s races will compete in front of his local fans. Winning a horse race at home is better than winning anywhere else, Kingsley said.
He trained for local owners including George and Sue Sensor of Camden and Cot Campbell of Dogwood Stable in Aiken.
“My plans are to do as well as we can in front of the hometown crowd,” Kingsley said.
Thousands of military personnel will attend the international steeplechase race day, and many activities will honor active duty soldiers and veterans.
At 11 a.m. a pre-race show will begin with events such as a tribute to veterans, official swearing-in of U.S. Army recruits, Carolina Skydiving Team and patriotic music.