Capital Region Scrapbook: Travers in ’95 and ’96 generated excitement as it always does (with photo gallery)

“It’s the race of the year,” Frances Morone told the Gazette on Travers day 1995. “Opening day and T

Picnics. Hats. Dancing. Friends. Horses.

And luck — maybe enough for the 7-3 exacta and a $300 return on a $2 investment.

They’re all parts of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Over the years, Damascus, Annihilate ’Em, Alydar, Runaway Groom and Sea Hero have been big names during Saratoga’s signature race.

In 1995, some of the big names were Marylou Whitney, Frances Morone and Bonnie von Wiesenthal. For 1996, the lineup included Kathleen Monaco, Carol Conti and Rhys Cole.

They were all at Saratoga for the Travers, using the August Saturday to celebrate summer.

“It’s the race of the year,” Morone, 71, told the Schenectady Gazette. “Opening day and Travers Day — I’m always here.”

Gov. George E. Pataki was also in for the action in 1995, watching his first Travers as governor of New York. But while George was boss of the state, his 10-year-old daughter Allison was boss in the governor’s box. She hit the first race and advised her father on other thoroughbred candidates.

In 1996, Monaco and Conti of Scotia were among the Saratoga faithful looking for winners.

There will be more this weekend. The 143rd running of the Travers Stakes will be held Saturday at the famous place on Union Avenue.

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