Saturday, August 24th is the 150th running of the Travers Stakes at the Saratoga Race Course.
Also known as the Mid-Summer Derby, the Travers is one of the oldest Stakes Races for 3-year-olds in the United States and is the traditional centerpiece of the Saratoga meet.
The race is named for William R. Travers, the first president of the race course. He also happened to own a horse named KENTUCKY who Won the inaugural running of the Travers in 1864.
To put this race in historical context; It was first run during the Civil War, and Abraham Lincoln was president. It is the oldest major Thoroughbred race in America. The Travers is 11 years older than the Kentucky Derby, 9 years older than the Preakness, and predates the Belmont Stakes by 3 years.
The race has had gaps in its history and was not run in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1911, and 1912. It was contested at distances ranging from 1 1/8 miles to 1 ¾ miles before settling on its traditional distance of 1 ¼ miles more than a century ago.
Given that this years Kentucky Derby still resonates among us horsemen, it’s worth noting there have been three disqualifications in the Travers: TRIAL BY JURY finished first in 1915, but was disqualified and placed last; RUN DUSTY RUN finished first in 1977 but was disqualified and placed 2nd, and AFFIRMED finished first in 1978 but was disqualified and placed 2nd.
In 2012, the race had two Winners for the first time in history when GOLDEN TICKET and ALPHA finished in a Dead Heat.
The Daily Racing Blog will be featuring Travers info all week, with a close look at the field, and bold predictions on Friday.