The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and FOX Sports today highlighted television coverage for Saturday's blockbuster Travers Day at historic Saratoga Race Course. As a result of an expanded commitment and partnership between NYRA and the FOX Sports family of networks, sports fans and horseplayers will be treated to 6 ½ hours of live racing and comprehensive analysis of all seven Travers Day stakes races.
For the first time in history, the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers will be televised live on FOX as part of a one-hour telecast from 5 to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Saratoga Live will air a special, expanded edition on FS2 and MSG+ beginning at 11:30 a.m. with live coverage and analysis of five Grade 1 races including a contentious Grade 1 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti; the return of Shancelot in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy; and a fascinating renewal of the Grade 1 Forego presented by Encore Boston Harbor that will see Mitole and Promises Fulfilled go head to head for bragging rights in the sprint division.
Saturday's Travers Day coverage will feature a world-class broadcast team that includes Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, veteran hosts Greg Wolf and Laffit Pincay III, Andy Serling, Maggie Wolfendale, Acacia Courtney, Tom Amoss, Jonathon Kinchen and former Major League Baseball all-star Paul LoDuca. Larry Collmus, NYRA announcer and voice of the Triple Crown, will provide live race calls.
An annual highlight of the Saratoga season and one of the most sought-after wins in all of racing, the Runhappy Travers is the oldest stakes race for 3-year-olds in the United States. The inaugural Travers took place on August 2, 1864 as the first race ever held at the present-day Saratoga Race Course and was named for William R. Travers, a co-founder of the Spa who won the inaugural running with a horse named Kentucky.
Familiar foes Tacitus and Tax will meet for the fifth time this year as they headline a field of 12 for the 150th Runhappy Travers. Last time out, in a dramatic edition of the Grade 2 Jim Dandy presented by NYRA Bets, Tacitus stumbled badly at the start as Tax tracked Grade 1 Preakness winner War of Will through swift splits. Although Tacitus gamely made up ground down the backstretch, and surged strongly the final 70 yards, Tax got first jump turning for home and held on strong for a three-quarter length score. With one win apiece, the Runhappy Travers will serve as a lucrative tie-breaker as both rivals arrive in search of their first Grade 1 victory.
The Runhappy Travers field will also feature multiple-graded stakes winners Code of Honor, Mucho Gusto and Owendale, plus a pair of formidable contenders from Saratoga leading trainer Chad Brown in Highest Honors and Looking At Bikinis.
The 150th Runhappy Travers will be one of six Grade 1s on Travers Day, including the Grade 1, $850,000 Sword Dancer; Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti; Grade 1, $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina; Grade 1, $600,000 Forego presented by Encore Boston Harbor; and Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy. Rounding out the blockbuster card is the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa.
NYRA and FOX Sports began their collaboration during the summer of 2016 with the launch of the critically-acclaimed Saratoga Live airing on FS2. In November of 2018, NYRA and FOX Sports announced a new long-term television programming deal to make FOX Sports the year-round national television home for NYRA racing. As a result of this groundbreaking deal, FOX Sports will broadcast 500 hours of thoroughbred racing from NYRA tracks in 2019 including coverage of nearly every race day at Belmont and Saratoga.
Racing at Saratoga Race Course is held five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run Wednesday, August 28 through Labor Day. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com.
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