Just about a year ago, on Saturday, Aug. 3, this city, in partnership with Saratoga Race Course, celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first Thoroughbred meet here, the culmination of years of planning and a nearly year-long series of festivities.
Another anniversary, ignored but no less significant, will take place this Saturday. On Aug. 2, 1864, the first Thoroughbred race was run on the track as we know it, nestled between Union and Nelson Avenues. The first race was the inaugural running of the Travers, named for the first president of the Saratoga Racing Association; run at a mile and three-quarters, it was won by Kentucky, who would come back to win another race three days later.
Like the first races the year before, run on the old trotting track near what is now the Oklahoma, the meeting on the new grounds was greeted enthusiastically by press both near and far.
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Featured image property of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, and used with permission.