You know Nashville’s country music side. Today, you’ll meet its countryside. Start at Belle Meade Plantation, a Greek Revival mansion commissioned in 1845. The main hall is decorated with paintings of the former owners’ famous thoroughbreds. Belle Meade acquired Iroquois, the first American-born-and-bred horse to win the English Derby after his 1881 win. Iroquois was the most famous thoroughbred of his time, and helped hone Belle Meade’s reputation as one of the finest breeders worldwide. Belle Meade’s stable and carriage house are also available for touring.
A short drive through farmland and celebrity farm estates takes you to Iroquois Steeplechase, which is the second Saturday in May each year. Yes, the event is named for that Iroquois, and if you don’t know, a steeplechase is a horse race over obstacles. Steeplechase enters its 74th years in 2015, attracting a crowd of more than 25,000 annually. The dress code takes cues from the Kentucky Derby in reserved seating areas and goes casual along the general admission hillside.