Onsite Registration & Location Info

Specials for both of our main registration locations have been provided in case you would like to grab breakfast ahead of heading out to The Plains or use one of the locations as a meeting point for any vehicle passengers. However, you can head straight to Great Meadow Park where our Onsite Registration starts at 11:00 AM and will end at 3 PM. University Row will close at 6PM, but tent only guests are welcome to stick around to watch the Kentucky Derby on the Jumbotron at 6:46pm!

Two important notes…

  • Be sure to bring your ID and ticket with you when you check in at University Row.
  • New arrivals after 3pm are not guaranteed access to the Row.

2018 University Row Map

The 2019 updated layout is coming soon – but University Row is always located at the very end of the North Rail at the Virginia Gold Cup. To find us, just keep walking!

General Information – Onsite


University Row programs are available virtually here on our website. Official VGCA programs are available for purchase at regular points around the course. They are essential if you wish to follow the races and the map is very helpful if you plan to explore.

Information Booths

VGCA runs a number of information booths. If you get lost or need assistance, look for one of the question mark signs fixed on raised poles.


For use during the day at University Row we have contracted for the best portable lavatories and attendant service available from Don’s Johns (the only bathroom vendor choice allowed by the Virginia Gold Cup Association). Bathrooms at University Row are for the exclusive use of our guests. Public restrooms are also available throughout Great Meadow and just outside the fences of University Row.


For directions to Great Meadow Park for attendance at University Row at the Virginia Gold Cup Races, please click here. Basically, take exit #31 of I-66, turn left, drive for a mile, and we are there at Gate #7. When you arrive into the event, drive all the way to the end of the North Rail. Do not stop when parking attendants tell you to, unless you see the end of the road coming up!


All Parking Passes will be left in the owners’ names at Gold Cup Will Call, across the street from Gate #1 at the Virginia Gold Cup. The tables for Will Call are in front of The Corner Store at Old Tavern at this location, which opens at 10:00am on Race Day.

Course Layout

The race course is divided into several areas: North Rail, South Rail, and Members Hill. Chalet tents are located along the rail itself, with the best views of the action; private tailgates are located in four bands behind the tents. South Rail is generally more of a family area, with lots of company tents. Members Hill, located near Winners Circle, separates South Rail from North Rail and is mainly comprised of corporate sponsor hospitality tents. North Rail is home to University Row and has been the liveliest area of the course since the Races moved to Great Meadow in 1985.

University Row Security

As in years past, we have retained both uniformed and plain clothes off-duty law enforcement personnel to help us monitor our area. Additionally, we will have volunteers all day at the front table to assist University Row security staff in identifying and removing any crashers. Unauthorized entrants into University Row are subject to arrest and removal from Gold Cup.


The first Saturday of May at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains is usually a day of strong sunshine. By Virginia standards, early May humidity is usually mild and is further softened by a light breeze slipping through the foothills. It is usually a few degrees cooler at The Plains than in Arlington, but race day weather does vary from year to year and even throughout the day, and we advise you to be prepared for temperature swings, wind, rain, and sun with intense UV.