Velazquez Honors Clemente With Every Ride

In 2011, Joe Dietrick made his annual trip to Saratoga Race Course from his home in northeast Pennsylvania. He’s come here for decades, and when he was younger, he’d park his mobile home in Saratoga for the whole meet. On that day in 2011, Dietrick was with his son Jon and two grandsons. John Velazquez…

Meet Mr. Travers

Last year at Royal Ascot, Estimate, a horse owned by Queen Elizabeth II, won the Gold Cup in its 207th running. As the Queen traditionally presents the trophy to the winning owner, her victory presented something of a problem, solved when her son Prince Andrew stepped in to do the honors. In August of 1864,…

Hopes For A Championship in the Midsummer Derby

In this historic summer at Saratoga Race Course, as the town of Saratoga Springs celebrates the sesquicentennial of Thoroughbred racing, the Travers Stakes—run for the 144th time this year—is living up to its billing as the Mid-Summer Derby. Though tomorrow’s $1 million race will not, as anticipated earlier this summer, feature a match-up of the…

Making History at the Spa, Again

As an erstwhile Saratogian, I look forward to the Travers every year, regardless of who’s running.  As a turf writer, I hope that the race will play an important role in the sport’s landscape. As a racing historian, I want the Midsummer Derby to yield something noteworthy that future generations of racing fans might read…

Racing Industry Bickering, 1877 style

If you think that acrimony, turf wars, and internecine bickering in the racing industry are recent phenomena, a look at the 1877 Saratoga season will quickly disabuse you. While the opening of that meeting was greeted with the usual hyperbole, it was not without its controversy. Several weeks in advance of the July 25 opening…