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

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!

2023 Winners

First Trial – Two Year Olds

The Coward Trophy

Sponsored by The Richard L. Duchossois Family, In Memory of Richard L. Duchossois

One-Quarter Mile

Place Horse Owner Trainer Rider Time
1 Mii Amo Legion Racing Travis Durr Brody Durr 24.0
2 Unheard Legion Racing Travis Durr Rakeem Pauling
3 Unnamed (Prenuptial Vow 21) Allen Poindexter Cary Frommer Ismael Gonzalez
4 Major Mayhem R Marie Farms Rebekah Hurt Lizzie Quinn
5 Attrayant Kirkwood Stables Cary Frommer Ismael Benitez
6 Unnamed (California Breeze 21) Stuart Morris Jason McCutchen Lamont Smalls
Second Trial – Two Year Olds

The Gaver Trophy

The Dr. Rebekah Brady Memorial Trophy

Sponsored by Southern Equine Service

One-Quarter Mile

Place Horse Owner Trainer Rider Time
1 Callin My Name Mason & Walker McCutchen Jason McCutchen Lamont Smalls 21.2
2 Unnamed (Thunder Lilly 21) Riri Stables Cary Frommer Roberto Benitez
3 Tunechi Legion Racing Travis Durr Rakeem Pauling
4 Unnamed (Seeking Options 21) Riri Stables Cary Frommer Ismael Gonzalez
Third Trial -Three Year Olds and Upwards

The Von StadeTrophy

Sponsored by Aiken Saddlery

One Mile

Place Horse Owner Trainer Rider Time
1 Dante’s Fire Pathfinder Racing Neil Morris Ivan Cruz 1:49.3
2 Seismic Wave William Russell Neil Morris Charles Bennett
3 Junonia Kinross Corporation Neil Morris Joseph Sharp
Fourth Trial -Three Year Olds and Upwards

The City of Aiken Trophy

Sponsored by Meybohm Real Estate

Four and One-Half Furlongs

Place Horse Owner Trainer Rider Time
1 Sinful Dancer Kimberly Smith David Figueroa Makaia Paige Carpenter 55.0
2 He Is Bonafide R. Marie Farms Rebekah Hurt Kathleen Wilson
3 American Bound Terry Hutto Marion L Cuttino Joe Sharp
4 Cacio E Pepe Mr. Amore Stables LLC Travis Durr Rakeem Pauling
Fifth Trial -Three Year Olds and Upwards

The Iselin Hall of Fame Trophy

Sponsored by Jack Wetzel

Four and One-Half Furlongs

Place Horse Owner Trainer Rider Time
1 Say It Loud Cherry Knoll Farm Peter Pugh Caroline Pugh 55.4
2 Study Committee Carson Ann McCutchen Jason McCutchen Lamont Smalls
3 Brown Liquor Man James M Miller Wes Carter Rakeem Pauling
4 Noble Gem Quail Ridge Farm Neil Morris Ivan Cruz
Foxhunter Challenge Race

Sponsored by: Helen Naylor, In Memory of the Mare, Roxy

Three Quarter Mile

Place Horse Owner Trainer Rider
1 In Effect Pathfinder Racing Neil Morris Cedar Grove Hounds
Other entries:
Zella Alicia Brigode Josh Daniels Aiken Hounds
True Up Stacy Armstrong Stacy Armstrong Whiskey Road Fox Hounds
Knockout Kick Kristin Schlachter Kristin Schlachter Rose Tree-Blue Mountain Hunt
Sweet Lady Mary Mr. & Mrs. Ismael Gomez Ismael Gomez Rose Tree-Blue Mountain Hung
Family Tree Irvin Naylor Trey Bennett Cedar Grove Hounds
Zeke Alicia Brigode Alicia Brigode Aiken Hounds

Winner Gallery

First Trial – Two Year Olds

Second Trial – Two Year Olds

Third Trial -Three Year Olds and Upwards

Fourth Trial -Three Year Olds and Upwards

Fifth Trial -Three Year Olds and Upwards

Foxhunter Challenge Race

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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