I got to attend this year, and it was such a fun experience! Now I am going to have to do a lot of research on steeplechasing and learn about it (once I'm back to a computer and not on my phone).
For anyone who is considering going next year-it was amazing! We went with general admission tickets an had the best spot for someone who is attending to actually watch the horses. I will post pictures of our view from my computer later. We got a front row view of each post parade, the final fence and last stretch to the wire, and of the horses walking back to the infield after the races. You could really get a sense of some of the horses personalities. Talk about the look of eagles!
the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique
In ye olde days, more could squash into Percy Warner, but they changed around the box seating and moved things around since the mid-'80s (when they'd get 30-40,000) and now its more like 20k.
Still the biggest fanciest richest spring meet by far and I think the ##'s put it that the meet has benefited Children's Hospital at Vandy (or whatever it is) by $millions$ since that's been their charity.
The Vandy Lifeflight helicopter was on site for the whole day, and there were little knots of Vandy MD's positioned at every fence all around the course.
There were hat contests, stick horse races, tailgate competitions -- all the accoutrements, plus superb racing.
That Iroquois was, as you said, one for the ages. My pic over the 2nd last has Divine Fortune reaching like a small working pony hunter (knees up and stretching, belly scraping the hedge) but looming darkly behind him is Demonstrative's pinned ears. He made up 6 lengths up the homestretch -- 2 jumps and a really long, uniformly steep climb. It must be 3/8ths of a mile. It is testing -- they call it Heartbreak Hill. The just-graduated novice division Demonstrative reeled in the top grade 1 veteran says a lot for the winner.