With an estimated student attendance of over 2,000, the Foxfield Races — held a few miles north of Grounds — took place this Saturday with no student arrests or patients of on-site medical care reported. This is the first time in two years the event has taken place since the pandemic.
The Foxfield Races, a set of steeplechase races established in 1978, have become a major social tradition of the Charlottesville and University communities. The races occur in the fall and spring — the fall race is typically oriented towards families and sees little student attendance, while the spring race is often attended with college students dressed in their best spring outfits, often sporting derby-style hats which are often synonymous with horse racing.
Prior to this spring’s race, Foxfield officials announced a restriction of alcohol for each tailgate spot — described as the space of a single car — to two 750 milliliter bottles of hard alcohol, three bottles of wine and three six-packs of beer, seltzer or cider.
According to data from the Albemarle County Police Department, the races this year have not led to any arrests for public intoxication, and no one was reported to have received on-site medical treatment. The last Foxfield race, held in 2019, resulted in four people being arrested for public intoxication and 26 patients being treated by medics on-site.
The races were not held last year or the year before due to COVID-19, but returned this year following decreasing counts of new cases of COVID-19 as well as higher vaccination rates in the Charlottesville community.