Mark your calendar for the 74th annual Aiken Training Track Trials, which will be held Saturday, March 19. Located in the heart of Aiken’s historic horse district close to downtown, the track has been home to more than 40 Thoroughbred champions over the decades.
The Aiken Trials are the first leg of the Aiken Triple Crown, the three-weekend-long celebration of horse sports that includes the Aiken Trials, Aiken Steeplechase and the University of South Carolina-Aiken “Pacers and Polo” match.
The Aiken Trials draw upward of 10,000 spectators to enjoy a day of family fun that includes extravagant tailgating spreads, assorted vendors, good-natured side betting and fun activities such as the hat contest and the best tailgate contest.
This year’s event has received the support of the city of Aiken through funding from its Economic Reinvestment Fund to provide incentives to help increase the entries of horses from outside the area.
Gates open at 10 a.m. with the opening ceremonies and carriage parade beginning at 1 p.m. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general parking (third row and back) and $10 for gate entrance in advance. A VIP tent party will begin at 11 a.m. Tickets for the tent are $75 and include a lunch buffet and cocktails.
The Aiken Trials are also offering a “Pack a Picnic” special this year. The package includes four admission tickets and a second row parking spot for $60. Families and friends are encouraged to pack a picnic or tailgate and come out to enjoy a fun day of racing.
The Aiken Trials are held at the Aiken Training Track located at 538 Two Notch Road in Aiken. Tickets can be purchased online at aikentrainingtrack.com or by calling the track office at (803) 648-4631.