Travers Stakes at Saratoga’s Race Course

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It’s racing season and you cannot miss the legendary Travers Stakes event right around the corner. So, brush up your gambling skills and get ready to dig into the excitement!

Travers Stakes is the most exciting and popular event scheduled annually during Saratoga’s summer racing meet. It dates back to as far as 1864 when the race was founded and named after William R. Travers, who was the President of the Saratoga Racing Association in that year. Travers Stakes was also nicknamed Saratoga’s Midsummer Derby and is held on the last Saturday of August each year.

The race is a prestigious one of American three-year-olds horses, run over a distance of 1 ¼ mile. All the top three-year-olds in the country participate in Travers Stakes.

To help you enjoy a full experience, here are some historical facts about this race.

American Pharoah and Frosted go head to head around the stretch turn of the 2015 Travers
American Pharoah and Frosted go head to head around the stretch turn of the 2015 Travers

  • It’s for top players

At a value of $1.25 million, Travers Stakes is the most popular and most attended Saratoga racing event. As the toughest and fastest three-year-old horses in the country make their way to this race each year, fans never hesitate to place their bets. Last year’s Travers Day, saw fans bet up to 47, 870, 987.

Five up: Javier Castellano after winning his fifth Travers Stakes
Five up Javier Castellano after winning his fifth Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Keen Ice in 2015. Photo: Susie Raisher/

  • The legendary jockey

Jockey, Javier Castellano is the only jockey with six wins and more Travers victories than any other jockey.

Travers Stakes Floral Blanket
  • The prize

Winning is glorious at Travers Stakes. The winner of the race is given a blanket with red and white carnations. This blanket is estimated to hold over 1500 of these unique flowers.

The gold trophy is presented to a winner by a member of the Riddle family and the Governor or Lt. Governor of the State of New York.


  • Winners

Catholic Boy thrilled the crowd with his spectacular win at the race last year, 2018. Past winners include West Coast, Arrogate, Keen Ice, V.E Day, Will Take Charge, and Stay Thirsty.

West Coast

Tips for attending this year’s Travers Day

You must expect traffic to be heavy. Getting a parking space can become a daunting affair and crowds enthusiastically making their way to the tracks will be overwhelming. Here’s how you overcome any ‘pre-race stress’:

  • Book your tickets on time.
  • Arrive early and eat or bring a hearty breakfast. It’s important to note that there is no breakfast on the track during this event. You can also arrive with some minutes to spare having a meal in the restaurants close by.
  • If you want to skip driving, there are taxis available to make transportation easy.
  • Don’t end a memorable day without an exciting night out. Visit the pubs in downtown Saratoga for a complete Travers day experience.
  • Stay at the best inns and hotels closest to the Saratoga race track.

This year’s Travers Stakes is set for the 24thof August 2019. It will be the 149thrunning of the race featuring top thoroughbreds and familiar racehorses like Good Magic, Catholic Boy, and Mendelssohn. Fans also look forward to seeing Wonder Gadot the first filly to run in Travers Stakes since Davona Dale in 1979.

Jockey Javier Castellano celebrates aboard V.E. Day
Jockey Javier Castellano celebrates aboard V.E. Day after winning the 145th Running of the $1.25million

Read more from I On The Scene: HERE

About Irene Michaels

Over the past 25 years I have taken on the roles of a producer, publisher, insider journalist and fundraiser. My artistic interests began early in my teens working as a model and a dancer throughout the U.S. I formed my first modeling agency before I was twenty. While modeling I secured a re-occurring role in the popular daytime TV series General Hospital. Read more...

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