The 2019 Tryon Block House Races, scheduled for October 5 and hosted by Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in conjunction with the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club (TR&HC), has been canceled due to course-development delays and will return to its traditional spring date on April 11, 2020. TIEC has made a significant investment to create a state-of-the-art steeplechase course at the Green Creek Race Course in Columbus, NC. While significant progress has been made on the course, TIEC canceled the event in the interest of horse welfare and to ensure that the track is utilized in its most ideal condition. TIEC acted in consultation with the National Steeplechase Association, which sanctions the Tryon Block House Races.
Sharon Decker, chief operating officer of Tryon Equestrian Partners, explained:
“TIEC has made a significant investment of time and resources into the completion of the Green Creek Race Course, and while we are incredibly disappointed to cancel the event, we cannot risk horse or rider welfare. Our goal is to offer one of the nation’s most state-of-the-art steeplechase tracks and while we are making great progress on that goal, our timeline did not evolve as we had planned. There is potential to get the course ready by October, but it would be heavily dependent on perfect weather and with September being prone to hurricanes, it is not worth the risk. We believe it is better to cancel now with notice and focus on the spring 2020 race.”
Based on the remaining timeline, TIEC’s full-time Agronomist Dan Fradley concurs that the course could be ready in time, but only barring any weather issues whatsoever.
“The track is moving along nicely. The irrigation system is fully functioning and the ground has been completely seeded. Germination is taking place and soil temperatures are great this time of year for the cool-season grasses we have installed. That said, any bad weather from this point forward would keep the course from being ready by the October date,” Fradley elaborated.
“With the current condition of the course, it is not worth risking horse and rider safety,” emphasized TIEC Race Director Toby Edwards, a well-respected and nationally known course director who participated for many years as a jockey in the Block House Races. “Ultimately, the horsemen will have a race course that they can come back to year after year. The 2020 race will feature a first-class track that horsemen will greatly appreciate.”
NSA President Guy Torsilieri concurred in TIEC’s decision. “The safety of our horses and jockeys is our number-one priority, and TIEC made the proper decision,” he said. “While we are understandably disappointed that our owners and trainers will not have the opportunity to race at Tryon this year, safety is always the first consideration. TIEC acted promptly so that our horsemen have adequate time to adjust their training schedules. TIEC’s investment into the Green Creek Race Course demonstrates their commitment to the sport. I applaud TIEC for what they are doing to improve the track and am excited for the 2020 race,” said Torsilieri.
Decker added that the Green Creek Race Course is a priority for TIEC and the organization is committed to delivering one of the nation’s best steeplechase tracks.
“We have one of the best agronomists in the country on our team, and we continue to push forward with our plans for the course despite the fall cancellation. Our team, along with several contractors, have been working for months on the venue, placing irrigation around the entire track, modifying the infield so more parking spaces are flat at the rail, expanding and modifying the lake so that there is plenty of water to insure the track becomes the best it can be over time,” explained Decker.
For spectators, tickets to the event can be applied to the spring 2020 event or a refund can be requested by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. All 2019 tickets for the Tryon Block House Races events, including the pre-race kickoff, are transferrable to the 2020 event on April 11. If ticket holders want to transfer their tickets to the April 11, 2020 date, then no further action is necessary and the tickets will automatically be transferred. If a ticket holder has other questions, please contact email@example.com or call 828-863-1002.