May 4, 2001

Steeplechase benefits Children’s Hospital

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Artist Rich Gabriel has captured the traditions of Nashville Steeplechasing in this whimsical piece that features the new Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and highlights this year’s Steeplechase theme, “Racing Toward a New Era.”

Steeplechase benefits Children’s Hospital

Thousands of spectators will gather at Nashville’s Percy Warner Park on Saturday, May 12, for one of Tennessee’s most revered horseracing traditions and largest fund-raisers for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

The 60th annual Iroquois Steeplechase is presented by the Volunteer State Horsemen’s Foundation in association with Friends of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

The Iroquois Steeplechase is one of the highest fund-raising steeplechasing events in the U.S. Since its affiliation with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in 1981, the Iroquois has raised over $4.5 million to provide specialized pediatric care to area patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

Each year, the not-for-profit Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital treats over 8,500 children on an inpatient basis and sees over 170,000 outpatients.

A steeplechase is a horse race over obstacles made of natural or artificial materials. The sport dates back to 18th century Ireland, when squires on their way home from foxhunting would race each other over fields and fences toward a distant church steeple. The Iroquois is named in honor of the first American-bred horse to win the English Derby. After his retirement, Iroquois stood at stud at Belle Meade Plantation, one of the most important thoroughbred farms of its era.

The program is the richest of the National Steeplechase Association’s spring schedule, with purses totaling $275,000. It features seven races over a specially designed 3-mile course. More than 50 riders compete for the prize money.

Gates open at 11 a.m., and the races begin at 1 p.m. with starts approximately every 30 minutes. Percy Warner Park is located on Old Hickory Boulevard between Hillsboro Road and Highway 100.

General admission is $10 in advance or $12 at the gate, with a $25 family pack. Children under six are admitted free. Tickets are available at all Bank of America locations before race day, and at the gate on the day of the race. Steeplechase hats, t-shirts, binoculars, blankets and other items are on sale at the Children’s Hospital development office and will also be available at the park on race day. Call 343-4231 for information or visit the Web site at