SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – On Saturday, the Whitney Invitational Handicap coincided with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first organized four-day race meeting in Saratoga Springs on August 3, 1863.
And the Whitney did not disappoint. Saratoga's winningest jockey, John Velazquez, adding to his win total today by riding "Cross Traffic" to victory in the race.
The win part of a "hall of fame" partnership, pitting Velazquez with trainer Todd Pletcher.
With a $750,000 purse, the is race considered by many to be the second biggest of the season, after the Travers Stakes.
Sesquicentennial Honary Chairs Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson presented Kevin Brockley, of Gansevoort, with the choice of which horse to direct the $15,000 Win wager on in the race for three-year-olds and older. No word on his success.
The civic-minded Whitney and Hendrickson, long-time racing principals, are underwriting the $75,000 Saratoga 150 promotion that offers five lucky fans this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The presentation of the $15,000 in cash will take place in the winner's circle after the ninth race.
The Whitney family has been key to Saratoga society and racing since the sport began at the Spa. In the early 1900's, William C. Whitney is widely acclaimed for saving the track from demise.
Drawings for the five $15,000 Win wagers are held weekly, in a random, electronic-based system.