The 77th Annual Iroquois Steeplechase

The 77th annual Iroquois Steeplechase in Music City took place on Saturday, May 12 and was full of the usual traditions but with some unexpected racing results and new festivities that made the already premier event an even bigger success.

There was some Hollywood flair mixing with the Southern Belle’s this year as British actress Victoria Summer (Saving Mr. Banks, Game of Aces) hosted a tea and whiskey tasting in a special rail-side tent. It was presented by Teen Cancer America (TCA), the national non-profit founded by Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend of The Who.

The tickets benefitted TCA and its work in the Nashville area supporting local teenagers and young adults with cancer. The VIP experience included, catered food and bar, and a special musical performance by Summer and Nashville singer/songwriter John Gurney. They also had a raffle, which Country Pop artist, Tenille Arts won.

“I was so excited for my first visit to Nashville,” said Summer. “Having the opportunity to perform for our guests and help raise funds and awareness for Teen Cancer America at the Iroquois Steeplechase was something I’ve looked forward to for months. It’s been a wonderful day at the races helping a special group of people who deserved our support.”

This year’s Steeplechase was also the first year in awhile that there was no rain, which made for quite a hot day. So the horses weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the cooling stations. But, we are happy to report that thanks to the efforts of the Tennessee Equine Hospital there were no major injuries or overheating episodes. Although some of their vets did report they’d developed kankles after working in the heat all day – we wish them & their ankles a speedy recovery.

As for the races themselves, the 3-mile, $200,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois turned into a three horse race with a quarter mile to run before Zanjabeel came from fourth place to win the storied Grade 1 race by five lengths with the sun-baked crowd of 25,000 roaring its approval.

The win was the third from six starts in North America since the five-year-old gelding was acquired from the British string of Sir Gordon Richards. When asked to describe his ride in the 77th Iroquois, Geraghty said, “I just went out there and sat and waited to see what he wanted to do. He’s been quite unlucky twice this season.” When asked about his instructions, the rider said, “There were no instructions, I just rode him with confidence.” That confidence paid off when Zanjabeel finished five lengths ahead of Modem from the Maryland stable of trainer Elizabeth Voss.

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