So Who Was William Travers?

William R. Travers, taken from The American Thoroughbred, 1905. Public domain. Via flickr.

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. 

Saratoga Race Course would likely not exist without Travers. After the success of the 1863 meeting, held on the site of what is now the Oklahoma training facility and initiated by John Morrissey, Travers was one of the four men (Morrissey, Leonard Jerome, and John Hunter) who purchased the land on which the track now sits, built the facility, and formed the Saratoga Association, which remained in place until the management of New York’s Thoroughbred tracks consolidated in 1955. 

Continue reading at Daily Gazette

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