Saturday is the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. It is by far the most popular day of the entire meet. It features six Grade 1, Stakes races, totaling 4.6 million dollars in purses.
So perhaps a little background on the race itself is in order:
THE NAME: When the Saratoga Racing Association named the Travers Stakes for William R. Travers (one of the founders of America’s oldest race course), they sought only to honor a man who’d made his mark on the sport of horse racing.
Mr. Travers’ horse, KENTUCKY, Won that first edition of the race in 1864.
Almost immediately, the Travers became a prestigious event, as word spread that the race was designed for only extraordinary three-year-old horses.
THE DISTANCE: The race has been run at three different distances during the course of its history to-date:
1 mile: 1864 to 1895
1.12 miles: 1896 to 1903
1¼ miles: 1904 to present
The present distance of 1 1/4 miles is a perfect distance for contemporary three-year-olds. The race is open to colts and geldings, carrying 126 lbs. and fillies, carrying 121 lbs.
THE TROPHY: The Travers Trophy is known as the Man O’ War Cup, and was designed by Tiffany & Co. The trophy was named for Samuel Riddle’s great Champion Race Horse. Mr. Riddle donated the trophy as the permanent award for Winning the race. Typically, a gold-plated replica is presented to the Winner every year by a member of the Riddle family.
THE TRAVERS BLANKET: The Winner of the Travers Stakes typically receives a beautiful blanket of flowers to drape over the horse, handmade locally with over a thousand carnations.
THE TRAVERS CANOE: The Travers Canoe has been a lovely tribute to the Winners of the Travers every year since 1961. The canoe is painted in the colors of the silks of the reigning Travers Winner. A canoe has been a fixture in the infield pond since 1926, but it wasn’t until 1961 that the canoe became affiliated with the Travers.
On Friday the Daily Racing Blog will preview the 2021 Travers Stakes. So be sure to stop back and see who we like.