Heading to the Saratoga Race Course for the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers? Read on to plan your day, check out the lineup of events, and see who’s competing in the Travers Stakes.
Know Before You Go
If you want to purchase your Travers Day tickets ahead of time, you’ll end up saving some money. Grandstand tickets are $10 now, but will increase to $15 at the gate on Saturday. There won’t be any Clubhouse upgrades on the big day.
Gates open at 7 am, and you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to get through security. You can reserve no more than one picnic table per person on Travers Day, and with the early start to the day, there won’t be a Clubhouse Breakfast or tram tours of the backstretch.
Want to “Toast the Runhappy Travers” along with the crowd at 1:50 pm? $20 miniature-sized bottles of Moet & Chandon champagne will be available for purchase at the track.
The National Anthem will be sung by Sergeant Emily McAleesejergins from the United States Military Academy at West Point. She’ll also return after the fifth race to perform God Bless America.
Doc Severinsen (of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson fame) will play the jazz trumpet in the winner’s circle after the fourth race.
After the ninth race (around 4:24 pm), catch a precision freefall demonstration by cadets from the United States Military Academy. The cadets will parachute from a helicopter onto the outer turf course while streaming their jump live on the video boards.
Travers Window Decorating Contest Winners
Leading up to Travers, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business District teamed up to host a racing-themed window decorating contest between local businesses. Caroline and Main took first place, followed by G. Willikers, with Adirondack Trust Company and Saratoga Dance, Etc tying for third. The winners were awarded Travers Day hospitality packages.
The Graded Stakes
The Travers isn’t the only graded stakes race taking place on Saturday. There are five other Grade 1 Stakes, and one Grade 2:
- 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
- Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy
- Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa
NYRA Bets customers who hit the Late Pick 5 can take part in the $1 Million Single-Ticket Bonus. Everyone can also participate in the ongoing Empire 6, in which fans can bet on the first-place winners of the last six races of the day.
The 150th Travers Stakes
There are twelve horses running in this year’s Travers Stakes. Competitors include multiple-graded stakes winners Owendale, Code of Honor, and Mucho Gusto, as well as Saratoga trainer Chad Brown’s Highest Honors and Looking at Bikinis. Tacitus and Tax will also be competing, marking the fifth time they have competed against each other this year. Rounding out the lineup are Laughing Fox, Everfast, Chess Chief, Scars Are Cool, and Endorsed.
The winner of the 15oth Travers will be cloaked in the traditional blanket of red and white carnations, and the canoe in the infield pond will be painted in the winning colors.
“The Runhappy Travers is much more than just the highlight of our summer racing calendar,” Dave O’Rourke, NYRA President and CEO, said in a statement. “It has also long been one of the most significant races for 3-year-olds in the country, producing such memorable moments as Man o’ War’s thrilling run in 1920… to more recent years when Arrogate delivered an exhilarating, record-smashing performance in 2016. We expect another outstanding rendition as we celebrate the 150th running of the Runhappy Travers and encourage fans to be a part of history by joining us at Saratoga.”