Greg Montgomery’s 2024 Poster-Palooza

Greg Montgomery admits he was in the dark when the whole Belmont-coming-to-Saratoga thing was announced. “Someone said, ‘Aren’t you doing something for the Belmont?’” the graphic illustrator remembers. “And I said, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve been sick or something. Tell me what you’re talking about.’ And they said, ‘The Triple Crown is coming to Saratoga. It’s only the most important thing that ever happened!’”

Nearly 40 years after he started creating Saratoga’s now-iconic Travers posters, Montgomery knew how big of a deal this was. And he knew that as the Spa City’s preeminent visual documentarian of major horse racing events, he had to do something. The only problem? He had nothing on which to base his design—a prerequisite simply didn’t exist. 

“My formula has been to take last year’s [Travers] winner and some recognizable location at the track and put the two of them together through the magic of Photoshop,” he says. “I can’t do that. This has never happened before.”

To further complicate matters, the winner of last year’s Travers was Arcangelo, son of 2016 Travers winner Arrogate. If Montgomery put Arcangelo on this year’s Travers poster, it’d look too similar to the poster he did commemorating Arrogate’s victory less than a decade ago. But at the same time, the artist felt he had to honor Jena Antonucci, the first woman to win the Midsummer Derby since 1938.

Montgomery’s solution to the conundrum? Three posters—one in honor of the Belmont being run at Saratoga, one in honor of Jena Antonucci’s historic wins in both the 2023 Belmont and Travers, and the regularly scheduled, yet-to-be-released Travers poster.

While we can’t unveil what Montgomery came up with for the Travers poster just yet, we can show you the other two. The Antonucci one, featuring Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano and the aforementioned Arcangelo, will be gifted to attendees of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame’s Belmont Gala on June 6 at the Canfield Casino, with a limited number of signed prints becoming available later this summer. The other? A poster featuring the August Belmont Trophy, which was commissioned by the eponymous namesake of the Triple Crown race in 1896 and fashioned by Tiffany & Co. out of 350 ounces of sterling silver. Montgomery’s illustration of the trophy took more than a month to draw, and utilizes 1,100 pieces of color to capture all its reflections just right. Behind it, you can just make out the Saratoga grandstand’s iconic skyline.

“Impressions sold 75 of them in seven days,” says Montgomery, who will be donating proceeds from the poster to charities including the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. “The scale of this race and its interest is new to me.”

And you’d better believe that shortly after this year’s race, Montgomery will start collecting photos of its winner. Why? Well, in preparation for his 2025 Belmont at Saratoga poster, of course.

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