March 16, 2024

History of the Aiken Trials

Begun in 1942 as a way to give young horses in training the enlightening opportunity to experience every aspect of live racing, the Aiken Trials has become a time-honored tradition as the first leg of Aiken’s Triple Crown events, held annually for three consecutive Saturdays in March. The Aiken Steeplechase and Pacers & Polo make up the other two events.

The Aiken Trials draws upwards of 10,000 spectators who enjoy a day of family fun that includes extravagant tailgating spreads, assorted vendors and good-natured side betting.

There are six races on the program consisting of five races for two-year-olds and maidens (horses that may have started in a race, but have never won), running a ¼ mile to 4 ½ furlongs, and one race for older horses that have already won.

The jockeys are local exercise riders who have an afternoon in the spotlight after paying their dues exercising horses each morning (in all weather) throughout the year. Occasionally, a trainer has brought in a licensed jockey to compete; making some exciting competition for the exercise riders!

5 Thoroughbred Races, Pony Races, and more!

Vendor Village, Food Trucks, Hat Contest
(no entry fee)

Tailgate Contest ($5 fee)

724 Two Notch Road
Southeast Aiken, SC 29801

2024 Winners

First Trial - The Coward Trophy

Maiden Fillies Two Years Old
One-Quarter Mile From the Gate
Sponsored by AB Beverage
Grooms Award Sponsored by Equine Devine

Place Horse Owner Trainer Rider Time
1 BELLE OF THE SOUTH Steven Bacon Brad Stauffer/Legacy Stable Kat Hogan 22.40
2 BODY LANGUAGE Carson Ann McCutchen Jason McCutchen Brody Durr
DNF Unnamed
Warriors Reward x Munnings Favorite
Cary Frommer/Becky Davis Cary Frommer Victor Rosales
SCR SLANDEROUS Carson Ann McCutchen Jason McCutchen
Second Trial - The Gaver Trophy / The Dr. Rebekah Brady Memorial Trophy

Maiden Two Year Olds
One-Quarter Mile from the Pole
Sponsored by: Southern Equine Service
Grooms Award Sponsored by Southern Equine Service

Place Horse Owner Trainer Rider Time
1 CHADO Debbie McCutchen R.B McCutchen Brody Durr 21.2
2 Unnamed
First Mondays x Boheme de Lavi
Cary Frommer/ Becky Davis Cary Frommer Roberto Benitez
3 Unnamed
Practical Joke x Tip Top Tap
Kirkwood Stables Cary Frommer Victor Rosales
Third Trial - The Von Stade Trophy

Polo Pony Race
The Jerry Napp “Yellow Cat” Memorial
Winner Gift Sponsored by The Tackeria
Grooms Award Sponsored by Oak Manor Saddlery

Place Horse Owner/Trainer Rider Time
1 BROLEY Kimberly Von Stade Ivan Cruz 41.40
2 M & M James Gadea James Gadea
3 FRED Shane Sullivan Shane Sullivan
Other Entries
EVA Ken Cresswell Ken Cresswell
CZARINA Pearl Duncan Pearl Duncan
CARLA Belinda Brody Belinda Brody
Fourth Trial - The City of Aiken Trophy

Three Year Olds and Up
Four and One Half Furlongs From the Gate
Sponsored by Meybohm Real Estate
Grooms Award Sponsored by Steve Penrod

Place Horse Owner Trainer Rider Time
1 HE IS BONAFIDE R. Marie Farms LLC Rebekah Hurt Kathleen Wilson 53.20
2 SINFUL DANCER Kimberly Smith David Figueroa Makaia Paige Carpenter
3 DREAM ASTRAY Roberto Benitez Roberto Benitez Roberto Benitez
Fifth Trial - The Iselin Hall of Fame Trophy

Maidens, Three Year Olds and Up
Four and One Half Furlongs
Sponsored by Jack Wetzel
Grooms Award Sponsored by tbSALES

Place Horse Owner Trainer Rider Time
1 TIZ THE PRINCE Youngs Racing Stable Bill Allyn Lizzie Quinn 56.20
2 DATA WARRIOR Ted Gregory Ted Gregory Kat Hogan
3 MAJOR MAYHEM R. Marie Farms LLC Rebekah Hurt Ismael Benitez

Ladies Side Saddle Race
One Mile – Flag Start
Sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Paul Clark
Best Turned Out Award Sponsored by Camp Leaping Horn

Place Horse Owner Trainer Rider Time
1 DIPLOMAT Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Grove Cathi Grove Cathi Grove 4:12.1
2 DOUBLE THE WAGER Erin Stormont Erin Stormont Erin Stormont
3 CRACKER Jessica Rutland Jessica Rutland Jessica Rutland
Other entries:
BATTLE RIVER INK Raise A Glass Ranch Wendy Pruden Wendy Pruden
LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN Ned Towell Mary Katherine Towell Mary Katherine Towell
WAFFLES Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Grove Cathi Grove Amber Lee Clark

Ticket Information

General admission tickets/parking passes are now on sale for the Aiken Trials.

Everyone age 6 years and older must have a valid admission ticket.

Ticket Pricing

General Admission Tickets

$25  available in advance and at the gate


General Admission Parking

$20 in advance or at the gate

Purchase Your Tickets

In Person:

Aiken Training Track Office, 538 Two Notch Road, mornings 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (office accepts cash, check, or credit card)  CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS WILL INCUR A PROCESSING FEE.


By Phone:

(803) 648-4631




More information at AikenTrainingTrack.com

Tent Permits

This is a rain-or-shine event. Be sure to purchase a Tent Permit so you’re prepared whatever the weather. Permits may be purchased in the Track Office for $20.

Tent Policy

Tent Permit includes 1 additional General Admission Parking pass for your vehicle.
Tent and vehicle may NOT occupy the same spot.
You must provide your own 10’ x 10’ or smaller tent and properly secure it to the ground.
Tents in the Clocker Stand Patron area may be no wider than 8′.
Tent Permit must hang visibly from your tent at all times.
All tents will be inspected for permits and properly secured installation in the interest of safety for our attendees and horses.
No sidewalls are permitted on the rail in order to maintain a fair view of the track.

Presented By



We thank you for supporting our vendors!

The Board of Directors of the Aiken Training Track is honored to bestow the membership in the Ambassador Club of the Aiken Training Track to Ron Stevens

Ron Stevens arrived in Aiken in June, 1986 as trainer for Cot Campbell’s Dogwood Stable at the Aiken Training Track. In 1990, Campbell announced he would be cutting back on the size of Dogwood. At that time, Ron opened up Stevens Race Stable and continued to train all of the Dogwood horses while taking on other clients. In 2000, Stevens joined with Brad Stauffer and established Legacy Stable.

Stevens served as President of the Aiken Training Track for nine years in the 1990’s, took a break and served again from 2006-2012. Under his leadership, Ron started a ticket pre-sales program for the Aiken Trials, race sponsorship and opened up the infield for parking. He has run over 100 horses in the Trials.

Over the years, Ron Stevens has prepared several top quality horses for their racing careers while they were in Aiken. Dogwood Stable’s Summer Squall finished second in the 1990 Kentucky Derby before winning the Preakness Stakes two weeks later. Storm Song (Dogwood Stable) won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 1996 and was named Eclipse Award 2 Year Old Filly that year. Quality Road (Spring Hill Farm) was a seven time Graded Stakes winner. Palace Malice (Dogwood Stable) won the 2013 Belmont Stakes and Curalina (Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners) won three Grade 1 Stakes.

To this day, Ron continues to partner with Brad Stauffer and is the #1 hotwalker for Legacy Stable.

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