The first weekend of spring is expected to be unseasonably cool and rainy, making for a wet and chilly race day at the 47th renewal of the Aiken Spring Steeplechase on Saturday.


Weather at the track promises to be cloudy with a 60 percent chance of rain and a high temperature near 53 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. About a quarter to a half inch of rain is forecasted.


The quick moving cold front expected to bring cooler temperatures brushed closer to Aiken last night with the weather service issuing a freeze warning for Aiken County, lasting until 9 a.m. today.


Saturday's crowd is still expected to be heavy despite the change in temperature and rainy conditions. The Aiken Department of Public Safety is requesting racegoers arrive early to avoid traffic and congestion before the race.


Last year's event drew about 30,000 people despite the threat of rain. Thousands of spectators are expected to gather for this year's race as the gates open at 9:30 a.m.