Travers Traditions are Part of the Legacy of the Annual Mid-Summer Derby at Saratoga Race Course

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. will once again welcome racing fans to Saratoga Race Course for its signature day of the summer racing season to witness the 144th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers on Saturday, August 24.

The Grade 1, $1 million Travers was first run in 1864 and today is the oldest major stakes race in the country for 3-year-olds. Gates will open at 7 a.m. on Travers Day with a special first post time of 11:35 a.m.

This year’s Mid-Summer Derby is poised to feature a showdown between the nation’s top 3-year-old thoroughbreds – 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice and Haskell winner Verrazano.

As the preferred timepiece sponsor and jeweler of Saratoga Race Course, Northeastern Fine Jewelry and BALL Watch USA will present special timepieces to the winning owner, trainer and jockey of the Travers.

The winning owner of the Mid-Summer Derby will also be presented with the official trophy of the Travers, the Man O’ War Cup. Named for the eponymous legendary thoroughbred and donated by Mrs. Samuel D. Riddle, the gold trophy designed by Tiffany & Co. is inscribed with the names of the winners of the 143 previous runnings of the Travers.

Per tradition, a member of the Riddle family will present the trophy in the winner’s circle following the Mid-Summer Derby. The winning owner will also receive a gold plated replica of the Man O’ War Cup as a permanent keepsake.

Additionally, the winning owner of the Travers will be honored with one of Saratoga’s most beloved traditions, the annual changing of the Travers canoe. In a tradition dating back to 1961, the canoe sitting upon the infield pond at Saratoga Race Course is painted in the colors of the winning connections of the reigning Travers champion. The canoe itself has been a fixture at the track since 1926.

The tradition is currently represented by two canoes floating on the infield pond in honor of 2012 Travers winners Golden Ticket and Alpha, who hit the wire together in an electrifying finish resulting in the first dead heat in the Travers since 1874. The canoes, featuring the green, purple and orange colors of Golden Ticket and the blue and white of Alpha, will be replaced following the 144th running of the race.

The celebratory week leading up to the Travers will also include the annual Travers 1864 Restaurant Week. Diners have the opportunity to enjoy a three-course meal at nearly 40 participating Capital Region restaurants for the prix-fixe cost of $18.64, the year of the inaugural running of the Travers. The promotion runs through Thursday, August 22. For a complete list of participating restaurants, visit

This week’s Spa All Access web video series will provide an in-depth look at how some of Saratoga’s most cherished customs came to be during a piece on Travers traditions. Hosted by retired jockey Richard Migliore, who now serves as a broadcast analyst for The New York Racing Association, the Spa All Access series is available on The New York Racing Association YouTube channel at New York Racing Association YouTube or at

The Travers Day undercard will include the Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop; the Grade 1 Test; and the Grade 2 Ketel One Ballston Spa. The broadcast will be shown live on NBC from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information about the Grade 1, $1 million Travers, visit

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