02/05/2017 4:36PM

National Steeplechase Association spring schedule offers record purses

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A record total of nearly $2.6 million in purses will be offered during the spring portion of the National Steeplechase Association’s 2017 season.

The organization dedicated to jump racing announced this week a revised spring schedule of 18 stops that includes two new locations. The purse money represents an increase of 6.7 percent from 2016.

The spring season begins March 25 with the Aiken Spring Steeplechase in Aiken, S.C. and continues through May 27 with the Fair Hill Races at Fair Hill, Md.

The richest day of racing during the spring will take place May 13 at the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville, Tenn. The meet’s purses were boosted 15 percent to $525,000. The feature race, the Grade 1 Calvin Houghland Iroquois at 3 miles, remains $200,000. The Marcellus Frost for novices got a $25,000 raise to $100,000.

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The second-richest day of racing during the spring will come on the first Saturday in May at the Virginia Gold Cup, which offers races worth a collective $425,000. The feature is the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup, a four-mile timber race. The undercard is led by the Grade 2, $75,000 David Semmes Memorial over National fences.

The Steeplechase of Charleston at Stono Ferry joins the spring schedule on April 8, taking the spot formerly occupied by the Stoneybrook Steeplechase. The Charleston races, managed by the Bruno Event Team of Birmingham, Ala., will offer purses of $90,000.

The Tryon Block House Races will be held April 15 at the new Tryon International Equestrian Center in Columbus, N.C. Projected purses are $150,000, more than double the $72,950 paid in 2016.

To view the entire spring schedule, click here.