Thousands of University students flocked to the 45th annual Foxfield Races to watch a series of six horse races under the hot sun Saturday. According to data from the Albemarle County Police Department, the races this year did not lead to any arrests for public intoxication, and no one was reported to have received on-site medical treatment.
The Foxfield Races — a set of steeplechase races established in 1978 — are a major social tradition for Charlottesville and University community members. While the races occur in the fall and spring, the fall race is typically oriented towards families and sees little student attendance. The spring race is often attended by many college students dressed in their best spring outfits.
Third-year College student Bela Bhatnagar attended the races for her first time Saturday. While Bhatnagar said she was excited to take part in a “quintessential” University experience and noted that a large number of students who go are involved in Greek life and attend with their fraternities or sororities.
“Many years ago, I can understand why Foxfield would have appealed to U.Va. students but [now maybe] not as much as the student body has diversified,” Bhatnagar said.
No arrests were made last year following the implementation of a new 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.
Foxfield Races were not held in 2020 or 2021 during the pandemic. In 2019, four people were arrested for public intoxication and 26 patients were treated by medics on-site.