NYRA to celebrate 150th Runhappy Travers with downtown festivities

Celebration to include jockey autograph session, musical entertainment and festive racing-themed shop windows

Fans will enjoy savings when they purchase their Travers Day tickets in advance

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association will welcome racing fans downtown to celebrate a milestone edition of the summer’s marquee race during a special community-wide event on Tuesday, August 20.

The festivities will be held in the days leading up to the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers, which will take place on Saturday, August 24 at Saratoga Race Course.

The downtown Travers celebration will feature a jockey autograph session and live musical entertainment. Fans will also have the opportunity to view festive racing-themed décor in the windows of numerous downtown shops and businesses.

General admission tickets for Travers Day are $10 when purchased in advance and $15 on Travers Day. An extremely limited number of Clubhouse admission tickets are available for $25. Clubhouse upgrades will not be available on Travers Day. Tickets may be purchased on-track at the NYRA Box Office or online at NYRA.com/Travers.

The 150th running of the Runhappy Travers will be carried live on the FOX Broadcast channel as part of a special one-hour telecast on Saturday, August 24 beginning at 5 p.m. FS2 will have live coverage of Travers Day beginning at 11:30 a.m.

“We are excited to partner with the community to extend our celebration of the 150th Runhappy Travers into downtown Saratoga Springs,” said NYRA CEO & President Dave O’Rourke. “We thank the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association for their support as we get set to commemorate this milestone 150th running of Saratoga’s signature race.”

A highlight of the festivities will be a meet and greet and autograph session on Tuesday, August 20 with both legendary and current jockeys. The autograph session will take place on the sidewalk in front of Impressions of Saratoga at 368 Broadway beginning at 5 p.m.

The jockeys will meet and take photos with fans and sign autographs with a suggested donation to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund. Participating riders include: Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero, Jr.; Hall of Fame jockey and record six-time Travers winner Javier Castellano; the Ortiz Brothers who currently sit atop the leaderboard in wins for the 2019 Saratoga meet: Jose Ortiz and brother Irad Ortiz, Jr.; Eclipse Award-winning jockey Richard Migliore; and Saratoga’s all-time leading jockey and Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, amongst others.

The celebration will include live entertainment, courtesy of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. A strolling quartet from the Racing City Chorus will perform at various locations along Broadway. Entertainment will also be offered by guitarist and singer Jeff Brisbin outside the Adelphi Hotel; country music guitarist and singer Marty Brown outside The Washington on Broadway; and acoustic music duo The E-Block at Burger-Fi. In addition, Upset, a miniature horse, will greet fans outside of Dark Horse Mercantile on Broadway.

“We’re excited to partner with NYRA, the DBA and the City to celebrate the Travers 150 not just at the track but also in our vibrant downtown,” said Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus. “We are fortunate to live in a community that has such a glorious history with both the oldest sporting venue and the oldest stakes race for 3-year-olds in the United States. When we reach milestone anniversaries like this one, it’s important that we celebrate and remind people of just how special and significant Saratoga is, especially with respect to thoroughbred racing.”

Fans will enjoy browsing numerous racing-themed storefront displays at downtown shops, restaurants and businesses as part of the 150th Runhappy Travers window-decorating contest, held in partnership with the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association.

The racing-themed window displays can currently be viewed at nearly two dozen storefronts throughout downtown. Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges from NYRA, the Saratoga Springs DBA and the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. The top three window displays will receive special recognition during the Travers post-position draw on Tuesday, August 20 at the Adelphi Hotel.

Fans also have an opportunity to win a pair of Clubhouse reserved seats for the 150th Runhappy Travers by completing the enter-to-win form located at each merchant participating in the window decorating contest. Entries will be accepted through Monday, August 19.

Participating merchants include: Adirondack Trust Company; Caroline and Main; Celtic Treasures; Crafters Gallery; Dark Horse Mercantile; deJonghe Original Jewelry; G. Willikers; Hat Sationa! By DEI; Impressions of Saratoga; Lifestyles of Saratoga; n. Fox Jewelers; The Pink Paddock; Saratoga Dance, Etc.; Saratoga Marketplace; Saratoga Saddlery & International Boutiques; Silverwood Home & Gallery; Soave Faire; TOGA Heritage; Tushita Heaven; Union Hall Supply Co.; and Violet’s of Saratoga.

“The downtown merchants have a had a great time preparing to celebrate this historic anniversary. We cannot wait to show off the decorated windows,” said Saratoga Springs DBA President Deann Devitt. “The Saratoga Springs DBA is appreciative of NYRA’s continuous commitment to bringing racing fans into our local businesses.”

As the oldest stakes race for 3-year-olds in the United States, the Travers is an annual highlight of the Saratoga meet. The Travers was first run one year after the first organized thoroughbred race meeting in Saratoga which occurred at the original Saratoga Trotting Course located near Horse Haven on the Oklahoma side of the track in 1863.

The Travers was named for William R. Travers, a co-founder of Saratoga Race Course, who won the inaugural running with Kentucky. Famous thoroughbreds that have won the illustrious race include Man o’ War, Whirlaway, Native Dancer, Alydar and Easy Goer.

The Runhappy Travers will be run on Saturday, August 24 as the centerpiece of a card featuring seven stakes and six Grade 1s, including the Grade 1, $850,000 Sword Dancer; Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti; Grade 1, $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina; Grade 1, $600,000 Forego presented by Encore Boston Harbor; and Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy. Rounding out the blockbuster card is the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa.

Racing at Saratoga Race Course is held five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run Wednesday, August 28 through Labor Day. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com.

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