The United States Equestrian Federation-sanctioned competitionÂ brings the elite competitors in horse-and-carriage combined driving to Oldham County. The relatively young sport, whose official formal organization only dates back to rules set by Prince Philip in the 1970s, is swiftly bringing a new dimension of prestige in the area of horse racing to the home of the Kentucky Derby.
Here is whatâ€™s in store for the full weekend of horse racing action:
Friday, Sept. 12
Phase I: Dressage
A ballet-like demonstration and test of the form and precision of the competitors as they progress through a predetermined series of movements and gaits. Dressage begins at 9 a.m.
Saturday, Sept. 13
Phase II: Marathon
The driversâ€™ skill and the horsesâ€™ speed and endurance are put to the test as they navigate a 10- to 22-kilometer course rife with physical hazards like hills, puddles and trees. The Marathon begins at 10 a.m.
Sunday, Sept. 14
Phase III: Cones
The final phase tests the control of the drivers and the speed, obedience and precision of the horses as they maneuver through a course of cones in a timed race. Competition begins at 10 a.m.
As with Mayâ€™s â€œFastest Two Minutes in Sports,â€ the social component is a major dimension of combined driving. In addition to a full weekend of racing, Hermitage Classic spectators will enjoy an atmosphere of fun and hospitality – in addition to access to the sport unparalleled by its thoroughbred counterpart. Here are just a few of the amenities available for Hermitage Classic attendees:
Saturday, Sept 13:
Oldham Ahead Tailgate & Hazard Tent. VIP ticket holders will enjoy a southern lifestyle experience with catered lunch and open bar with views of exciting hazards in the marathon portion of the Classic, and tailgaters will partake of appetizers and spirits next to the Oldham Ahead Windmill Hazard Area. There is a grand prize for most elegant tailgate.
Tailgate and hazard tent are separate ticketed events. Both attractions open at 9 a.m.
Oldham Ahead Tent. Located next to the Oldham Ahead Windmill Hazard area, this VIP area includes a boxed lunch and appetizers.
Guided Spectator Course Walk. Prior to the Marathon phase, attendees will have a chance to view the course up close. The walk begins at 9 a.m.
Sunday, Sept. 14:
Proof on Main Sunday Brunch. At the close of competition, Chef Levon Wallace and Proof on Main will provide a champagne brunch to cap off the exciting weekend. Brunch begins at 11 a.m., with the Hermitage Classic awards ceremony to follow.
Tickets and full information onÂ Hermitage Classic are available atÂ www.hermitagefarm.com.