Springdale Race Course—A venue like no other
Springdale racecourse is a unique racing and training venue that has no European equivalent and is one of the most beloved courses in the U.S.
Springdale, from its inception, was dedicated to training and racing steeplechasers. A spectator grandstand with seating for 1200 was added in 1970. A viewing terrace was built nearby in the early 1990s. Of the thirty hunt meets only three have a permanent grandstands.
According to local legend, Carolina Cup co-founder Harry Kirkover chanced upon the site while working his champion hunting dogs, then brought Ernest Woodward to see it. Woodward, who was chairman of the board for Jell-O corporation, agreed the acreage had enormous potential and purchased it. The two men transformed corn and cotton fields once connected to an old golf course into the splendid racecourse we appreciate today.
Marion duPont Scott was Springdale’s last private owner and left her beloved 600-acre facility to the State of South Carolina when she died in 1983. The course is managed by a not-for-profit corporation, The Carolina Cup Racing Association, with members selected from the region and the extended jump racing fraternity with one purpose—to make sure the races and the Springdale facility continue to thrive.
Part of Mrs. Scott’s vision was that Springdale’s profits would benefit the community. KershawHealth has received several million dollars over the years to support indigent care, purchase advanced equipment and enhance the well-being of the community. Other charitable organizations that have received funds include the Camden Jaycees, the Camden Bull Dog Club, the Junior Welfare League and the South Carolina Retired Thoroughbred Foundation
Harry D. Kirkover and Ernest L. Woodward discovered and purchased the 400 acres where the race course now stands in 1927. They envisioned a track similar to courses they had seen in Europe. The spacious Springdale Course was the first full-length course in the country where all jumps were visible from the main viewing area and no portion of the course was repeated, all the fences jumped a single time.
Woodward and Kirkover co-founded the Carolina Cup in 1930. Mrs. Scott held the inaugural running of The Colonial Cup at Springdale in 1970.
The facility has been the winter training ground for National Museum of Racing Hall of Famers Burley Cocks, Jonathan Sheppard and Janet Elliot.