I had the esteemed honor to serve as the Day of Event Social Media for Iroquois Steeplechase 2017. I manned the Facebook Page Iroquois Steeplechase and you can check out my coverage of the day of the event here.
Saturday, May 13, 2017, was the 76th annual Iroquois Steeplechase, also known as the Tennessee Derby LOL
Truthfully, I’ve never attended Steeplechase so I did some research to understand more about the event I was attending (and to ensure its historical background isnt….sketchy😎). Here’s what I learned:
I reviewed the Steeplechase program and basically, the derby is the speed race and Steeplechase is the jump race, with jump obstacles intermittently places on a course. Steeplechase horses may have had a not so successful career in flat racing classics. However, in their second life as a Steeplechase horse, they tend to excel with a combination of stamina and agility. American jump racing happens in 11 states: Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and New York, making it more of a southern tradition.
Just like the National Football League governs football, the National Steeplechase Association is the governing body of American jump racing, with its board of directors composed of committed horse owners, and race-meet officials, headquartered in Fiar hill, MD.
The day of the race felt more like a fancy tailgate, than a horse race, as the spectators and began to arrive at 8 am (we arrive at 7 am), with the first race starting at 1 pm. The setup at Steeplechase was pretty neat with the spectators on the INSIDE of the track, all around the rails, able to see the horses race right by the tailgates.
The social media tent happened to be right in the proximity of the horse trainers, jockeys, and owners; we were seated in a tent right behind the finish line.
There are five races at a Steeplechase, with each race having its own sponsor and purse (prize). The largest
Safety of the horses and jockeys is of the utmost importance, and we did see a few falls this year. The jockeys were ok and a few of the horse were rushed off in specially made emergency vehicles for horses. It got serious!
After the Steeplechase season, the horses spend their down time as, well regular horses; dirty, happy, and free.
Each race has it’s own purse amount to be distributed to the top 6 horses, with the largest percentage of the purses naturally awarded to first place. Some races were worth as low as $35,000 or as much as $200,000 (or more). The total purse for Steeplechase 2017 was over one-half of a million dollars.
As with other sporting event, the winning owners, trainers, horses and jockey s of each race were awarded in the winners circle with remarks from each member of the equine team. There was also other pomp and circumstance including sponsorship introductions, hall of fame inductions, and traditions such as the kids stick horse race and the running of the dogs.
Now that you have the gist of the history of the events, lets look at the fashion — the hats, the sundresses, and the suits! Here’s a video recap of the day:
🏇Fun times had by all!!🏇
The Fascinator I wore was featured in the Tennessean as one of the top fascinators (hats) of the day and was custom designed by the amazing Sunny Bands. She is a Nashville designer and I got to visit her studio to pick a fascinator for the day. I think the fascinator literally made my day and I got tons of compliments. Too much fun. Here’s some pictures of her studio and creations:
You can find her here and she is SUPER nice:
Thanks to the proud sponsors —> Bank of America and to the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt