with Horse and Hound

Camden, South Carolina: It’s Old Timey

Horse racing in Camden, South Carolina is the way racing used to be, says Eclipse Award-winning journalist Claire Novak in ESPN.com.

The venerable Springdale Race Course was founded there in 1928 and hosted its signature steeplechase event—the Carolina Cup—two years later. Thoroughbred trainers from the north would bring their flat racehorses down to this gentler clime in the winter to work over the well-draining, sandy footing.

A handful of old-time horsemen still start youngsters at Springdale or at the nearby Camden Training Center and then ship their young charges to top trainers all over the country.

In Camden, the belief is that horses brought along in their idyllic setting become happy horses. Steeplechase and flat trainer Jonathan Sheppard first came to Camden in November of 1961. He stayed for four months, liked it, and it became a habit. Trainer Arch Kingsley, a former steeplechase jockey from Virginia, has twenty stalls at Springdale, and more at his farm nearby. Kingsley saddled the 2011 Carolina Cup winner Sunshine Numbers. Wendy Kingsley claims she never met a horse that didn’t love Camden.

Click for Novak’s complete column.