Steeplechase always a Nashville must-see attraction - WSMV News 4

Steeplechase always a Nashville must-see attraction

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The second Saturday in May means it's time once again for the Iroquois Steeplechase - Nashville's outdoor social event of the year.

It's a fashion show for sure, but eight exciting horse races happen, too, and that makes it a can't-miss tradition for many locals and visitors alike.

"We sell out about every single venue," said Dwight Hall, chairman of the Iroquois Steeplechase.

Hall runs the races now as chairman, but he's also competed in the Iroquois 26 times as a jockey, winning in 1977.

When it comes to Steeplechase knowledge, he's still the champion.

"Probably so - been part of this for a long time, and never dreamed when I was riding I'd do this, but here I come," he said.

The horses come from across the country and around the world. Eight races are scheduled in all, with about 25,000 fans on the grounds at Percy Warner Park rooting them on.

Steeplechase racing, for the unfamiliar, is not all about speed. It's not the Kentucky Derby, as the carefully manicured turf track comes with obstacles.

Namely, there is a 4' tall hurdle along the horses' path.

Sixty-eight horses are ready to run Saturday, which is double the amount of last year.

Rain or shine, they'll race to that finish line.

"We're not calling for too much rain. Hopefully, it'll move out of here and everyone will have a great experience," Hall said.

The day's festivities raise money to benefit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Gates open Saturday at 8 a.m., and the first race starts at 1 p.m.

Tickets are $15, available for purchase at the park or online. Children ages 12 and younger are admitted free.

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