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.
Seven-year-old Michael Sellitto of Elmont, Long Island, had a friend in the racing game — he wore a pair of Jorge Chavez’s old silks to the Travers Stakes in 1995.
A young woman might have mixed up her sports at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 19, 1995. Her hat — with a black and white pattern — is a reminder of auto racing’s checkered flag.
Bonnie von Wiesenthal, right, owner of Snowberry Farm in Hudson, watches horses thunder down the track at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 19, 1995 — the year Thunder Gulch won Saratoga’s signature race. Bonnie’s friend Anne Palamountain of Saratoga Springs waits for the finish.
Socialite Marylou Whitney has a smile for a friend during the 1995 Travers Stakes.
Gov. George E. Pataki and his daughter Allison, 10, ponder their next move on Aug. 19, 1995. The Travers Stakes card proved a lucky one for Pataki and his family.
Frances Morone of Latham, the “button hat lady” of Saratoga Race Course, looks for a winner on Travers Day 1995. Morone said she had not missed a Travers race since 1955.
A young woman admires a Travers T-shirt during the 1995 proceedings at Saratoga Race Course.
From left, Gary Eichin of Glens Falls, Kathleen Monaco of Scotia and Carol Conti of Scotia watch the horses as they enter the paddock on Aug. 24, 1996 — Travers Stakes day. Will’s Way won the 127th running of Saratoga’s biggest race.
Two young women take a look at horses inside the paddock in 1996.
Rhys Cole, left, dances in the picnic area of Saratoga Race Course with his cousin, Shona Power, during Travers Stakes festivities in 1996.