Rich green against the haze of nearby hills, this handsome sweep of Tennessee land outside Nashville is the scene of the Iroquois Steeplechase, high point of the spring social season and climax of the hunt-racing calendar. Part of a week that is a lively mixture of horsey events and opulent hospitality, the big race is named in honor of the first American-bred to win the English Derby, Pierre Lorillard's Iroquois, who was later retired to stud near Nashville. It differs from most steeplechases in that it is run over brush instead of timber, and the entire eight-event card of Iroquois day is for amateur riders only. Traditionally, hunt meetings are held on private acreage of the sport's enthusiasts, but this one is raced in a public park that boasts a natural amphitheater, and all obstacles are visible to spectators sitting in boxes terraced into the hillside or picnicking on the crest. On May 11 the gallery at Percy Warner Park will gaze over the infield and follow the riders-colors across a soft spring landscape.
In a festive calcutta on the eve of the race, John Sloan, Iroquois' vice-president, auctions horses during dinner at Belle Meade.
Patrol judges gather in front of the stand before the big race, which was won by Appollon, leading (below) on the outside.
At the Hunt Ball that evening, Mrs. Paul Mountcastle (left) entertains guests from Albany, Ga., Mr. and Mrs. Richard Tift.
April 22, 1968
Lunch is served in the Mountcastles' garden the following day. The quail were shot by the hostess on her Georgia plantation.
Iroquois day kept the ladies busy. Gigi Banks and Genevieve Farris (top, left) acted as outriders; Betty Moran, flat race winner, consoled Malissa Williams, who was second; Appollon's owner, Mrs. William Rochester, accepted the challenge trophy.