Backers of the Iroquois Steeplechase have called off the 2020 running of their storied racing event in the face of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings.
Held since 1941, this year’s Steeplechase was to have taken place June 27, a date chosen by organizers after they pushed back the 79th running of their event from May 9. The day’s races typically draw about 25,000 people to Percy Warner Park and have since 1981 raised more than $10 million for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
“It has been determined by rules and regulations from our city officials and health department that social distancing will still be in place on our scheduled date of June 27,” Steeplechase Chairman Dwight Hall said in a statement Monday. “We’re excited to announce in the coming days a citywide celebration planned for our patrons which will continue to create excitement for one of Nashville’s most highly anticipated events. Our race meet benefits charities that impact our community, so it is our obligation to continue that tradition through another event which is better fitting to our restrictions.”
Steeplechase’s cancellation means two of the biggest spring events on Nashville’s social calendar will not happen in 2020. Early this month, the organizers of the Swan Ball, which benefits Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, said they would not hold their 58th gathering slated for June 6.