Steeplechase racing is a form of horseracing that originated in Ireland in the eighteenth century and spread rapidly to England and to the United States thereafter. In a time when church steeples were often the highest landmark in a neighborhood, racing from an agreed-upon starting point to the church over whatever lay in between – ditches, fallen timber, and the like – was an exciting form of racing. Nowadays, steeplechase races are conducted on regular racecourses and generally vary in length between two and four miles.
The first running of the Potomac Hunt Races took place in 1952, and has been an annual tradition ever since. Each year, the Potomac Hunt partners with a charity which benefits from the proceeds of the races.