Iroquois Steeplechase 2012 draws estimated 25,000 spectators - WSMV Channel 4

Iroquois Steeplechase 2012 draws estimated 25,000 spectators

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

It's a horse race that's all about the hats.

"I just took a little bit of ribbon, wrapped it around the perimeter and tucked some feathers," said spectator Becky Fisher.

Iroquois Steeplechase marked its 71st year at Percy Warner Park Saturday. The massive tailgate before the races started at 8 a.m. Spectators playing Corn Hole, drinking and a whole lot of socializing.

Nashville's steeplechase is all about what you wear.

"Kentucky has the Derby, Nashville has the Steeplechase. People plan for months on their attire," said Executive Director Libby Cheek.

"White dress, fun hat and the wedges. It's the most part about Steeplechase," said spectator Lauren Helms.

The party in the park contributes to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. This year the rain-or-shine event sold 1,400 tailgating spots. The general admission area alone was filled with 14,000 people. From there to the box seats people of all ages come to have a good time. Steeplechase attracted an estimated 25,000 spectators this year. Organizers improved cell phone reception and brought more restrooms and food trucks to deal with the crowds.

The horse races often become an afterthought to the fashion and fun.

"We're really excited for the last race in particular with Tax Ruling so that one will be exciting to watch," said spectator Katie Atkins.

The horse going for its third consecutive title had all heads - and hats - turning.

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