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Nicknamed the "Midsummer Derby," Saratoga's Travers Stakes is the oldest major Thoroughbred horse race in North America. Inaugurated in 1864, the Travers is held each August and regularly attracts the best three-year-old racehorses in North America. Handicappers welcome the Travers as one of the premier betting events in the United States, and bettors are virtually ensured to be rewarded significantly when their bets are winning ones. Horses that compete in the Travers were likely to have been prevalent throughout the Triple Crown races - the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
The race is named for William R. Travers, the first president of Saratoga who won the iaugural running in 1864 with a horse named Kentucky. The race has had gaps in its history and was not run in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1911, and 1912.
In addition, There have been three disqualifications in the Travers: Trial By Jury finished first in 1915, but was disqualified and placed last; Run Dusty Run finished first in 1977 but was disqualified and placed second, and Affirmed finished first in 1978 but was disqualified and placed second.
In 2012, the Travers wound up with two winners for the first time in history when Golden Ticket and Alpha finished in a dead heat. The 1874 Travers also ended in a dead heat, but Attila was declared the official winner after a runoff with Acrobat.
It was contested at distances ranging from 1 1/8 miles to 1 ¾ miles before settling on its traditional distance of 1 ¼ miles more than a century ago.
The present distance of 1 mile is a perfect distance for contemporary three-year-olds. The race is open to colts and geldings, carrying 126 lb (57.2 kg) and fillies, carrying 121 lbs. (54.9 kg).
The Travers Trophy is known as the Man O'War Cup, and was designed by Tiffany & Co. The trophy was named for Samuel Riddle's great Champion: Mr. Riddle donated the trophy as the permanent award for winning the race. A gold-plated replica is presented to the winner every year, by a member of the Riddle family.
The winner of the Travers Stakes will receive an extravagant floral blanket, a beautiful blanket of flowers to drape over the horse, hand-made locally with over a thousand carnations.
The Travers Canoe has been a lovely tribute to the winners of the Travers, every year since 1961. Every year, the canoe is painted in the colors of the silks of reigning Travers winner. A canoe has been a fixture in the infield pond since 1926, but it wasn't until 1961 that the canoe became affiliated with the Travers.
The city of Saratoga Springs NY celebrates the entire week leading up to Travers Day with various events, including a restaurant week, racing events, live music and more. It's the annual Travers Festival!
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