Brightly-dressed jockeys hovered and bobbed atop this year’s crop of thoroughbreds racing around the turf in a blur of wind and dust.
But Angele Tran focused on Iroquois Steeplechase’s fashion competition. She shopped for one of the event’s trademark over-the-top hats during the first race.
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She found a yellow picture hat with a giant yellow silk painted flower by New York milliner Christine A. Moore, who was there with Green Hills boutique Gus Mayer.
“My favorite color is yellow, and the flower is beautiful,” Tran said. “I do like being able to see. It offers just enough shade.”
The 81st annual horse race at Percy Warner Park drew thousands of people to the sprawling grounds, despite searing heat, on Saturday afternoon. The philanthropic event raised money for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Moore said she cut the $ 700 hat in a dramatic lopsided wave to offer maximum shade without making it difficult to see past the large brim.
“Fashion heightens the day at the races,” Moore said. “This is a place to gather and socialize. The bolder the better, with elegance.”
Women wore flower sundresses, rompers and flowing linen maxi dresses topped off with fascinators or sun hats. Men wore slacks, fedoras, pork-pie hats and tucked-in button-ups.
Some of the best-dressed attendees spent the race in the new “Royal 615 Lounge” – a large tent lined with a DJ, artificial grass and luxurious furnishings.
Hundreds of groups set up elaborate tailgate parties and played cornhole and beer pong. They grilled meats, danced to music and chatted while race highlights were called out on the loudspeaker.
Meanwhile, Anna Witherspoon and her friend Jamie Allen sat in box seats with a view of the racing turf, catching up with family and friends.
Witherspoon, wearing a wide-brimmed white sun hat, said she looks forward to the annual event.
“My family’s been coming since before my father was born,” Witherspoon said. “It’s like a reunion.”
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