Saturday, August 24, 2013

144th Running of the Travers Stakes

Also known as the Mid Summer Derby, the Travers Stakes is the big race in Saratoga.  We're lucky enough to live about 15 miles from the oldest horse racing track in the country.  Visiting the Saratog Race Course and watching the horses run in the Travers is also on Uncle John's bucket list.  We were glad to help him mark it off!

Did you know that the Travers Stakes is actually named for William R. Travers (one of the founders of America's oldest race course)?  The race is open to colts (not ours though!) and geldings, carrying 126 lbs., and fillies carrying 121 lbs. In 1941 history was made when Whirlaway became the only horse to win the superfecta of horse racing...he won the Triple Crown and then went on to win the Travers too!  

We were just part of the 47,597 folks at the track for the day...and holy cow, was it crowded!  This is just a shot of a small section of the inside!

The 2012 Travers Race ended in an unprecedented tie...meaning there were two canoes on the lake this year painted in the winner's colors.

There were plenty of big names in the 12th race.  This year's winner of the Kentucky Derby, Orb, was a crowd favorite.  Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice was also a top pick.  The Virginia Derby winner, War Dancer, also had a strong following.  There were no bad horses!

The crowd cheered when Orb trotted by before post time!

It didn't take long before they were off!  The horses ran the 1 1/4 mile dirt track in 2:02:68.  

Will Take Charge, with 10-1 odds, ended up taking home the $1,000,000 purse. The win paid $21.20 for a $2 bet.  Unfortunately, none of us saw 21-year-old jockey Luis Saez coming.  

Next year we're considering renting a lucky tie!