One of Saratoga's most exciting days in racing is the legendary Travers Stakes. Even if you need to brush up on your gambling skills, there's plenty to enjoy at the Saratoga Race Course that day.
Polish up your Travers knowledge with these 10 tidbits below and keep reading for tips on planning your outing.
10 history facts about Travers Stakes
- Known as the “Midsummer Derby”, the Travers Stakes dates back to 1864! The race was named after William R. Travers, president of the Saratoga Racing Association when the race was founded. This race is the oldest continuously run Grade 1 stakes race in the United States.
- The Travers Stakes is a $1.25 million race that attracts many of the top- 3-year-old horses in the country! Fans bet 47,870,987on last year’s Travers Stakes!
- Four Triple Crown winners have run in the Travers but just one has won the race. In 1941 Whirlaway became the only horse to ever win both the American Triple Crown and the Travers Stakes!
- With five wins, jockey Javier Castellano has more Travers victories than any other jockey.
- In 2012 there were two winners of the race and could not be separated by photo finish! Favored Alpha and long shot Golden Ticket crossed the finish line together for the only dead heat win in race history.
- 2015 was the first time the race sold out of attendance! NYRA capped the audience size to 50,000 people to watch the Triple Crown Winner, American Pharoah, in the 146thTravers Stakes.
- The Winner of the race is presented with a blanket of red and white carnations, which is estimated to hold over 1,500 flowers.
- The Man O’ War Cup, which is also known as the "Travers Trophy," presents the gold trophy to the winner by a member of the Riddle family and either the Governor or Lt. Governor of the State of New York.
- There is a canoe that sits in an infield lake at Saratoga Race Course, which is given the colors of the winning Travers Stakes jockey silks.
- Saratoga Springs is known to be called the “Graveyard of Champions.” Four historic upsets have contributed to Saratoga's reputation as the course where champions go to lose:
Man o' War (1919), one of the greatest racehorses of all time, won 20 out of 21 races in his career. The one race he lost was at Saratoga.
Gallant Fox in 1930, the second Triple Crown winner in history, was expected to easily take the Travers Stakes in 1930. Jim Dandy, a 100-1 outsider, defeated Gallant Fox by three lengths.
1973 Triple Crown winner, Secretariat lost the Whitney Stakes to a little-known horse named Onion at the Saratoga Race Course.
American Pharoah raced in front of a record crowd (50,000 people), finishing a close second to Keen Ice in 2015.
Helpful tips for attending this year's Travers Stakes
- Book parking ahead of time. We suggest using SpaceDerby.
- Don't worry about driving! Use Saratoga Taxi or Lyft.
- Grab a bite to eat across the street at The Brook Tavern or King's Tavern! There are plenty more restaurants close by. See your list of Saratoga dining options.
- Experience nightlife after Travers Stakes at the Horseshoe Inn Bar & Grill or head to other pubs on Caroline Street in downtown Saratoga!
- Stay at the Brentwood Hotel, The Inn at Five Points, Springwater Bed & Breakfast or Union Gables Inn and walk to the Saratoga Race Course! Of course, there's a great variety of nationally branded hotels, B&B's, quaint inns and more within a short distance of the track.
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Photos provided by Elario Photography, Inc and Shawn LaChapelle