The Travers Stakes is one of the biggest stakes races of the post Triple Crown racing schedule and the highlight of the summer racing series at Saratoga Race Course in New York. The Travers Stakes is contested by three year olds over a distance at 1 ¼ miles though it was held at several different distances early in its history. It is a Grade 1 race with a purse of $1,000,000. The winner also receives a Tiffany designed trophy called the Man O' War Cup in honor of 1920 Travers winner Man O' War. The permanent trophy remains in possession of the track while the annual winners receive a gold replica to keep.


The Travers Stakes was first held in 1865 making it the oldest 3 year old stakes race in the United States and predating the Kentucky Derby by a decade. Unlike the Derby, it hasn't been run every year since its inception—the race wasn't run in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1911, and 1912. Historians nebulously cite 'corrupt track ownership' as the reason the race wasn't run in 1896, 1898, 1899 and 1900 while the 1911 and 1912 races fell victim to some stereotypical New York political infighting that shut down the horse racing industry in the state. The race is named for William Travers, a prominent lawyer of the late 1800's who was instrumental in the construction and development of the Saratoga track and who served as its first president.


Big Business At Saratoga On Travers Day&h=223&w=348&zc=1

Added on August 31, 2016 , in Travers Stakes Betting

Big Business At Saratoga On Travers Day

Horse racing can always use an influx of good news and they got one this week out of Saratoga. The Travers Stakes card last Saturday ...

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27.08.2016 , by Jim

Arrogate Wins The Travers Stakes In Shocking Fashion

There’s an old horse racing saying that you hear after a big upset: “That’s why they run the races”. That ...

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07.08.2016 , by Jim

Longshot Paola Queen Wins Test Stakes

One of the more entertaining things about horse races is that in the right set of circumstances every entrant is a ‘live dog’. ...

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07.08.2016 , by Jim

Creator, Gun Runner Pointed Toward Travers Stakes

One of the biggest races between now and the Breeders’ Cup Classic will take place at Saratoga on August 27–the 1 1/4 ...

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One advantage working in favor of the handicapper looking to bet on the Travers Stakes is scheduling—the mid summer date of the race combined with its prestigious status means that it'll attract a field of high level three year olds. Typically the horses that enter the Travers Stakes have a solid resume of graded stakes races and are in many cases veterans of the Triple Crown events. There are few 'unknown quantities' that the handicapper has to deal with when preparing his Travers Stake bets.


While the field of competitors in the Travers Stakes should be very well known to horse racing fans and will have a good sized resume of past racing performances there are a couple of issues to consider when handicapping the race. One by product of a busy schedule in the early part of the three year old campaign is fatigue—this is especially true for horses that competed in one or more of the Triple Crown races. A horse that is heavily raced early in his three year old campaign might be too worn out to make a strong showing at the Travers Stakes. On the other hand a horse that was brought along slowly and/or underachieved somewhat in the early part of his three year old season might be reaching his competitive peak by mid summer.


The Travers Stakes has had more than its share of great horses and memorable moments since its debut race in 1865, won by a horse named Kentucky owned by track president and race namesake William Travers. In 1920, the legendary Man O' War would avenge the only defeat of his career when he beat Upset. Upset was the only horse that ever finished ahead of Man O' War in his 1919 Sanford Stakes victory. The final chapter of the rivalry between Affirmed and Alydar—arguably the greatest rivalry in horse racing history—took place at the 1978 Travers and it was appropriately dramatic. Affirmed crossed the finish line ahead of his rival but Alydar was declared the winner after a review indicated that Affirmed had cut his opponent off in the far turn. There have been two Triple Crown winners to race in the Travers Stakes—the aforementioned Affirmed and Whirlaway in 1941. Whirlaway won the race making him the only horse in history to win all three Triple Crown races and the Travers Stakes. In 2012 the race finished in a 'dead heat' between Alpha and Golden Ticket. It was the first dead heat of the modern era in the Travers Stakes, with the only other such situation occurring in 1874.