SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Saturday is the 144th Running of the Grade, $1 million Travers at the Saratoga Race Course.
This is a signature day for Saratoga's racing season. The country's top 3-year-old thoroughbreds, Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice and Haskell winner Verrazano, will compete.
The winning owner will receive the Man O' War Cup, the Travers trophy, along with many more traditions previous Travers race winners have received.
Canoes placed on the infield pond at the course don the colors of the previous year's winners. After the race, the canoes will be repainted.
The rest of the Capital Region has participated in the festivities the week prior to the big day with the annual Travers 1864 Restaurant Week. Forty restaurants in the region offered a three-course meal at a prix-fixe cost of $18.64, in honor of the first year the Travers run was held. Thursday is the last day of this year's Travers 1864 Restaurant Week.
On Thursday, the Travers Celebration is also being held. This event is in support of the Backstretch Employee Service Team, the Times Union Hope Fund and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. It will be held at the track starting at 7:30PM.
Wednesday, an ice-cream eating contest courtesy of Stewart's Shops.
Traffic is expected to be heavy on Saturday due to the popular Mid-Summer-Derby. Patrons are being advised to arrive early. Picnic tables can also be reserved in the backyard of the race course. However, only 50 registrants will receive one table to seat six people. Reserved tables will cost $100, which will be donated to charity.
Gates open at 7AM Saturday and the first post will have a special time of 11:35AM.