After more than two years of working through the pandemic, the 81st running of the Iroquois Steeplechase returned to its time-honored date of the second Saturday in May. Nashville’s long-held rite of spring drew a huge crowd, the size of which had not been seen in more than seven years. The joyful day showed once again that Nashvillians could not be more excited to be out and about and supporting their favorite nonprofits — in this case, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and the Friends of Warner Parks.
The fun started in the boxes long before the first race, as boxholders enjoyed mint juleps in monogrammed pewter cups and fried chicken served on silver platters. For those who ventured out, there was plenty to do. The Shoppes on the Hill held tents with Christine A. Moore Millinery’s stunning hats, paintings from the Too Black Too Fast exhibit and more. In addition to people-watching, there was the always-adorable stick horse race and a stop at our Nfocus Portrait Studio.
Speaking of people-watching, an extraordinarily fashionable group came ready to be scrutinized by our esteemed Style Contest judges — Vince Dreffs, Amos Gott, Mary Huddleston and Roseann Shah — and vie for the top spot in one of our four categories. After much deliberation, they selected Caroline Pickens for her modern take on Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle for Best Dressed Female, and David Lombardi’s crisp, classic look easily made him Best Dressed Male. Billy Studstill and Jade Oliveira’s coordinating ensembles secured their spot as Most Stylish Couple, and Alex Bachari’s palm-tree-and-flamingo-print jacket was the perfect blend of humor and style to earn him Most Outrageous.
Although the splashy attire and hats adorned with everything from flowers to a papier-mâché horse drew lots of attention, the true spectacle was on the track, where Snap Decision raced to victory in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois for the second year in a row. However, the real winner of the day was Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, which has received nearly $11 million from the Steeplechase since 1981.