history

The Iroquois Steeplechase has been Nashville's rite of spring since 1941, a time-honored tradition of Middle Tennesseans for seven decades. Its rich history dates back to the pasture races in Middle Tennessee during the 1930s, creating a legacy that resonates within the Nashville community.

Calvin Houghland

2008 Inductee

The 2008 inductees are Calvin Houghland, Dr. John Youmans, and Austin Brown. Aside from being among the most colorful participants in the early days of the race, they were all known for their horsemanship and their enduring commitment to the Iroquois. Their legendary careers as owners, trainers, and riders remain in the memories and records of their exploits at the races. If anyone qualifies as the soul of the Iroquois it is surely Calvin Houghland, whose success in the many facets of steeplechasing have made him the guiding force of the Iroquois since the death of his illustrious father, Mason Houghland, in 1959. Calvin knows how to win the race. He won as a jockey in 1943 on “Frederick II” and won as an owner in 1958, 1961 and 1964. During the subsequent years he often fielded multiple entries in the Iroquois without a win, until finally his perseverance was rewarded when he won in 2002 with “All Gong”. Moreover, he experienced the satisfaction of having All Gong go on the win steeplechasing’s most prestigious award, the Eclipse Award. In 2009, Calvin’s horse, “Pierrot Lunaire”, won the Iroquois.