The 28th running of the Willowdale Steeplechase will be held

Saturday, May 8th, 2021.

As the safety and well-being of our spectators, horsemen, officials and volunteers is our top priority, we have made the decision to limit attendance at the races this spring. There will be no general admission attendance or special activities where crowds would gather. We will limit the number of people on the property to stay in accordance with all federal and state COVID-19 guidelines – social distancing and mask wearing rules will also apply.

Click here for the race day invitation.

Please remember, the new spectator model is for this year only; in 2022 we hope to return to the layout you know and the spaces you have reserved in the past.

There will be no other admission sold before or on race day and Private Party Paddocks are limited in number and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Talk with your family and friends and act early when sales open! Please check your email, social media (Facebook or Instagram) and our website for sales release date – nothing will be mailed.

Contributions of patrons like you enable us to survive the losses brought on by the pandemic – and to continue our work to support our beneficiaries, the Stroud Water Research Center and Penn Vet New Bolton Center.

We are so grateful for your support during this challenging time and we will update you as to when sales will open.


Katherine S. Neilson Joins Willowdale Steeplechase Board

Race Chairman W. B. Dixon Stroud, Jr., Race Director Leslie Carpenter and the Board of Directors of the Willowdale Steeplechase welcome award- winning steeplechase trainer Katherine S. Neilson to the board.

“We’re privileged to have Kathy join the Willowdale board”, said Stroud.  “Her knowledge, insights and incredible talent will help us continue to bring the best of jump racing to this community and support our beneficiaries, Stroud Water Research Center and Penn Vet New Bolton Center”.

Ms. Neilson is a Graded Stakes Winning Trainer who has won 198 steeplechase and flat races and $3.9 million in purses. Her stake wins include Saratoga, Belmont, Maryland Hunt Cup (where she set a record), Pennsylvania Hunt Cup, New Jersey Hunt Cup, Middleburg Hunt Cup and Temple Gwathmey Steeplechase.

She is also an amateur Jockey with 80 starts and 18 wins including the Fegentri World Cup Germany in 1993.

Kathy was elected president of the Steeplechase Owners and Trainers Association in 2010 and again in 2020. She has been co-director of Cheshire Point to Point from 2019 to the present.

Kathy attended Trinity College where she received a BA English in 1989.

She is the mother of Max, Nina and Skylar McKenna.


The Willowdale Steeplechase is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization based in Kennett Square, PA. Our mission is to raise funds for clean water and veterinary excellence. Through donations to  The Stroud Water Research Center and The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center. the Willowdale Steeplechase helps to further the stewardship of our natural resources and educate the next generation of large animal veterinarians.