The inaugural Carolina Cup was run in 1930 at Ernest Woodward’s Springdale Race Course in Camden. A sterling trophy crafted in Ireland in 1704 and dedicated to the great horseman Thomas Hitchcock was secured for the occasion. Three thousand spectators gathered on a cold and damp March 22 for an opening card of three races and to watch Ballast II gallop to victory over a three-mile course of timber fences to win the feature, the Carolina Cup. A replica of the trophy and possession of the original for one year was awarded to the owner and rider Noel Lang.
Destined to become one of the most popular stops on the national steeplechase circuit, the Carolina Cup is among the oldest surviving race meets in America and the largest in terms of faithful fans. Except for three years during World War II, the Carolina Cup has been run annually since 1930. Thoroughbred racehorses are still touted as the feature of the day, but the tradition goes far beyond the superb steeplechasing over fences. Four generations have now gathered at this sporting and social bash, and the date of the Carolina Cup is marked on the calendar long in advance. Crowds have swelled, and a grandstand, College Park, the Rail, and Infield now surround the historic racecourse. Each new year welcomes families and friends, a little politicking, and a lot of socializing amid a sea of fashions and tailgate parties.
Trubiano, Ernie. The Carolina Cup: 50 Years of Steeplechasing and Socializing. Columbia, S.C.: R. L. Bryan, 1982.