Talk about a winning bet. When Saratoga Springs-based author Brien Bouyea, who’s also saratoga living‘s sports editor and the director of communications at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, decided to write about the 150th running of the Travers Stakes, which took place this past summer at the Saratoga Race Course, he chose a topic horse racing fans could all get behind. Bouyea, who co-authored The Travers: 150 Years Of Saratoga’s Greatest Race with longtime turf writer and current racing museum historian Michael Veitch, will be giving a talk about it this evening, October 22, at the internationally renowned Keeneland auction house and racecourse just outside of Lexington, KY.
The book, which features artwork by revered Travers poster designer Greg Montgomery, published back in July, has been a big hit (the first edition’s nearly sold out). “The Keeneland Library invited me because of the research I did for the book and a lot of the imagery as well, [which] was acquired by the library,” says Bouyea. Though he’s visited the famous Kentucky auction house before, tonight’s event marks Bouyea’s first official speaking engagement at Keeneland, as well as the farthest he’s traveled so far to give a reading of The Travers: 150 Years Of Saratoga’s Greatest Race. “Keeneland’s a big resource in the sport,” says Bouyea. “They do three or four lectures in the spring and fall meets, and it’s definitely a big honor to be here.”
For his evening reading, Bouyea plans to highlight the shared racing and historical connections between the Spa City and Lexington. “A horse named Kentucky won the first Travers in 1864,” says Bouyea. “The owner was John Clay, son of the famous Kentucky statesman Henry Clay.” That winner of the inaugural Travers Stakes was even bred on a farm called Ashland Stud just a few miles away from where Bouyea will be giving his talk.
As for future speaking engagements in the Capital Region or farther afield, Bouyea says he’s hoping to schedule a few for this upcoming holiday season. He’s also already planning a second edition of The Travers, which will include a new page on the historic 150th running of the Travers. For now, however, Bouyea’s just looking forward to spending a day in Kentucky horse racing country. “The racing scene here is a lot like [in] Saratoga,” says Bouyea. “There are a lot of fun traditions, the people love the sport and Kentucky has such a great atmosphere about it.”