Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Race Course essentials: Travers Day 2022

Epicenter, trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Joel Rosario, wins the 59th running of the Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, July 30, 2022.
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Epicenter, trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Joel Rosario, wins the 59th running of the Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, July 30, 2022.

Today is Day 33 of the Saratoga Race Course meet. Racing starts at 11:35 a.m.

RECENT STORIES FROM THE DAILY GAZETTE AT THE TRACK

“Tough field for Travers, and Epicenter will be in the middle of it,” by Mike MacAdam with photos from Erica Miller

The epicenter is supposed to be the worst place to be during an earthquake.

The Epicenter of the 153rd Travers, in contrast, is the best place.

That is, as long as everybody else rides their own horse and doesn’t try to shake up the trip for the morning-line favorite while covering a mile and a quarter around the Saratoga Race Course main track on Saturday.

~ Read More At The Track

“My Travers pick steps out of the early morning light,” by Mike MacAdam with photos from Erica Miller

One of the toughest tasks for Erica Miller and I during the 2022 Saratoga Race Course meet has been sorting out which of trainer Chad Brown’s three Travers horses we’re looking at in the morning.

They’re all beautiful, dark bay colts, sort of hard to distinguish from each other visually, and it takes a little more careful inspection and research (“Is this Artorius?”, to the exercise rider) to get it right.

Erica, the Gazette’s wonderful photographer who joins me as the 1 and 1A entry for our Spa coverage, and I had no such difficulty positively identifying Epicenter.

~ Read More At The Track

“So, just who was William Travers?” by Teresa A. Genaro

In 1867, the six-day summer meeting at Saratoga Race Course began on Aug. 7. The New York Times offered a glowing preview, praising the beauty of the women in attendance, the “unclouded brilliancy” of the sun, and the condition of the racing surface. That fourth season of racing in Saratoga, The Times claimed, “promises to be the most successful racing carnival ever held here.”

Those words must have been music to the ears of William R. Travers, whose eponymous race was carded as the first of two races (the second race comprised three two-mile heats). The president of the Saratoga Association, the organization that oversaw the track, Travers also served as a placing judge on that August day 155 years ago. 

~ Read More At The Track

“Jackie’s Warrior comes back in Forego after milestone Spa victory,” by Mike MacAdam with photos from Erica Miller

Last time, it was immortality.

Now, it’s back to reality.

Jackie’s Warrior won the Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga Race Course on July 30 to become the only horse in history to win a Grade I three years in a row at the Spa.

That also pushed his record to 5-for-5 here, with a Saratoga Special/Hopeful double as a 2-year-old in 2020 and the Amsterdam/Allen Jerkens double last year on his way to the Eclipse Award as top male sprinter.

He’ll put his undefeated records at Saratoga and in 2022 on the line Saturday against six rivals in the Grade I Forego, while stretching out from six to seven furlongs.

~ Read More At The Track ~ 

Florist Susan Garrett (center back) with Tom Garrett, Gerette Verbanic (left), Karin Howansky (right), all of Wilton, work on the Travers flower blanket made in preparation for Travers Day for Saratoga Race Course, at Dehn’s Florist, in Saratoga Springs on Friday, August 26, 2022. (ERICA MILLER/THE DAILY GAZETTE)

“Meet the maker behind Saratoga Race Course’s flower blankets,” by Indiana Nash with photos from Erica Miller

When Susan Garrett watches the 153rd Travers on Saturday, she’ll be zeroing in on one thing: Does the flower blanket look perfect?

Garrett, a florist and longtime Saratoga County resident, designs the intricate and hand-sewn floral pieces that adorn the winning horses at the Saratoga Race Course. Packed with hundreds of flowers, they’ve become track attractions in their own right over the last 28 years.

“I’m blessed to be able to make these pieces,” Garrett said.

~ Read More At The Track ~ 

“Jackie’s Warrior, in the Forego, is best bet on Travers Day card,” by Matt Donato with photos from Erica Miller

It is an unusual occurrence.

It’s Travers Day, but the featured race does not include the most intriguing Thoroughbred on the card.

Before the racing event of the summer can go off in Saturday’s eleventh race at Saratoga Race Course, history can be made in the fifth. That’s when Jackie’s Warrior, the 1-2 morning-line favorite in the Grade I Forego Stakes, is aiming for his sixth win in as many attempts at Saratoga. More impressively, the 4-year-old colt out of Unicorn Girl has exclusively competed in graded stakes at the Spa, most recently winning the Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt Stakes

~ Read More At The Track

“Trio of stars headlines short field in Personal Ensign,” by Teresa A. Genaro with photos from Erica Miller

Saturday’s Grade I, $600,000 Personal Ensign Stakes drew only five entries, but it’s tough to complain about the field when three of the horses have, among them, earned nearly $7 million and won 10 Grade I races.

~ Read More At The Track

“Jack Christopher gets back to sprinting in Grade I Allen Jerkens,” by Mike MacAdam with photos from Erica Miller

It’s easy to point to Jack Christopher’s career debut at Saratoga Race Course almost a year ago to the day as the first indication that he could turn into a brilliant racehorse.

Jack Christopher won by 8 3/4 lengths under Jose Ortiz and went on to win the first four starts of his career by a combined 25 1/4 lengths. 

~ Read More At The Track

Malathaat, trained by Todd Pletcher, schools in the paddock before races in preparation for Sunday’s Shuvee Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, July 21, 2022. (ERICA MILLER/THE DAILY GAZETTE)

“Places to celebrate after the Travers,” by Indiana Nash

Thanks to Travers Day at Saratoga Race Course, Saturday is slated to be one of the busiest days of the year in Saratoga Springs, bringing in thousands to the city. While the track remains the main attraction, there are plenty of places to celebrate, even after the track closes.

~ Read More At The Track ~ 

“Ten years later, dead heat in Travers alive and well for those who were there,” by Mike MacAdam

To revise Roy Scheider’s iconic line from “Jaws”: You’re gonna need another boat.

One of the traditions at tradition-rich Saratoga Race Course is the canoe that has floated in the infield lake since at least 1926 and has been painted in the colors of the Travers winner’s silks since 1962.

Then Aug. 25, 2012 happened, and one canoe wasn’t enough.

~ Read More At The Track ~ 

“Glimpses of 2016 Travers winner Arrogate still out there, in horses like Artorius,” by Mike MacAdam with photos from Peter R. Barber

He was a lightning bolt across the Thoroughbred racing world.

Then he was gone.

Arrogate made his career stakes debut in the most unlikely of spots, the 2016 Grade I Travers at Saratoga Race Course, in the most unlikely fashion, breaking a track record that had stood since 1979 as an 11-1 long shot.

~ Read More At The Track ~ 

“Maple Leaf Mel wins Seeking the Ante for owner Bill Parcells,” by Mike MacAdam

Unless you know who’s behind the name, August Dawn Farm won’t ring any bells.

Some clues do lie in the names of the horses who have run under the owner’s “Pale Yellow, Hunter Green” silks — Let’s Go Big Blue, Three Technique, Triple Option, Once a Giant, Play Action Pass.

But you get no help from Bill Parcells’ 2-year-old filly Maple Leaf Mel, who won the $200,000 Seeking the Ante to kick off the stakes parade during New York Showcase Day at Saratoga Race Course on Friday.

~ Read More At The Track ~ 

The start of the Grade I 152nd running of Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, August 28, 2021. (ERICA MILLER/THE DAILY GAZETTE)

“Saratoga Race Course spectators on why they make summer trips to the track,” by Stan Hudy

Thousands of people head to Saratoga Race Course throughout the summer, as horses run five days a week at the “summer place to be.”

Watching — and betting on — the races is a summer staple in the Capital Region, but the time between races and circumstances around venturing to the Spa City can be the most memorable part of the experience for many track-goers.

More than 780,00 fans have attended races this summer through last weekend, a figure that represents a 10% increase from last year at the same point. More than 44,500 people attended last year’s Travers Stakes day, and that number could grow higher Saturday for this year’s edition of the meet’s biggest race.

Throughout this summer, The Gazette asked fans at the historic race course why they made the trip to Saratoga Race Course.

~ Read More At The Track ~ 

“Velazquez reaches big milestone, 1,000 career wins at Saratoga,” by Mike MacAdam

Jockey John Velazquez said he doesn’t pay attention to tracking numbers.

He knows he’s 50 years old, of course.

And as of Thursday at Saratoga Race Course, after he rode the filly Precursory to her first career victory, Velazquez was handed a sign commemorating his 1,000th career victory at the Spa, a milestone he didn’t care about a few years ago, when his wife Leona brought it up.

~ Read More At The Track ~ 

“At the Track: Chatting with Javier Castellano,” by Mike MacAdam with photos from Erica Miller

Javier Castellano won’t be riding a horse in the Travers on Saturday, but if you want stories about winning Saratoga Race Course’s most important race, you come to him.

That’s because the 44-year-old Hall of Famer from Venezuela has done it six times, a record that will not be approached anytime soon, since 57-year-old Hall of Famer Mike Smith is the only active jockey with at least four Travers victories, then it’s 50-year-old Hall of Famer Johnny Velazquez as the only one still riding who has two.

Remarkably, Castellano has won six times from just 13 Travers mounts, a ridiculous 46.1% strike rate, with two second-place finishes, also.

~ Read More At The Track ~

Jackie’s Warrior, trained by Steve Asmussen, gallops on Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, July 9, 2022. (ERICA MILLER/THE DAILY GAZETTE)

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