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8 Winning Ways to Enjoy Travers Week 2021

It's time to party, Saratoga. Here's how to crush the Travers.

Code of Honor winning the 150th Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. (Billy Francis LeRoux)

Naturally, any numbered list that has anything to do with the Saratoga Race Course this year should (and will) be topped by the fact that fans are finally back in the stands. It’s been great to hear the roar of the crowd again—and actually place bets in person (though we still sanitize between every bet).

But really, as fun as all of the other days at the races can be—including the coveted giveaway days—the crème de la crème of all Saratoga racing days is Travers Day. And here in the Spa City, we don’t just celebrate a single day. No. We party like it’s [insert any Travers Day in history] all damned week.

So we’ve put together a handy list of all the best goings-on for Travers Week 2021.

Wednesday, August 25

Grab Some Advance Tickets, Save $5
The last time fans could pack the stands for the Travers Stakes was 2019, and nearly 50,000 of them showed up. On Wednesday, August 25, fans will be able to save on Travers Day tickets by purchasing general admission tickets for just $15 a pop (if you get them on the day of, they’ll cost $5 more). You can grab tix in-person at the NYRA Box Office by Gate A or buy them online here (service fees apply online). A limited number of Clubhouse admission tickets will also be available for $25.

Thursday, August 26

Did Somebody Say Free Vodka?
Fans can get a free sample of Ketel One Lemonade from the track’s Longshots Bar, located on the ground floor of the Grandstand, from 3pm-5pm. You must be 21 years old, and the samples will be available until supplies last. Also, if there’s a horse in front of you in line, you’re probably not in the right place.

Friday, August 27

Get an Autographed Tiz Poster
Remember Tiz Mania? How could you forget? Racing fans will have the opportunity to celebrate New York–bred superstar Tiz the Law, who won last year’s Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes, during a special autograph session with owner Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stables, trainer Barclay Tagg and jockey Manny Franco. (Sorry, Tiz won’t be offering hoof prints.) The trio of humans will offer autographed editions of a commemorative Tiz the Law poster at the Jockey Silks Room Porch from 11:30am-12:30pm, with a recommended donation to the Backstretch Employee Service Team and the New York Race Track Chaplaincy. Tiz the Law posters will also be free throughout the day at NYRA Bets Squad kiosks and guest services locations, while supplies last.

Chug a Beer Out of a Commemorative Jockey Boot
Achtung, baby! We’re not promoting binge drinking here at Saratoga Living, but if you’ve ever been to a German beer garden and been handed a boot full of beer, you know what you have to do. On the track’s New York Showcase Day, fans will be able to enjoy New York craft beer, available in a 20-ounce commemorative Jockey Boot, for just $10. Said craft beer specials will be available at the Fourstardave Sports Bar and the nearby Druthers Brewing Company Gazebo, as well as the Saranac Brewery portable bar on the second floor of the Grandstand. New York–based spirits producer Cooperstown Distillery will also be offering complimentary samples of its Fenimore Gin Cucumber Cooler from 1pm-5pm at the Jim Dandy Bar. The Fenimore Gin Cucumber Cooler will be the featured drink of the afternoon available at all dining areas, including The Porch, Club Terrace and Turf Terrace.

Do the Can-Can for Canned Cocktails
I can, you can, we all scream for canned cocktails! Fans will be invited to enjoy complimentary samples of ready-to-drink cocktails (i.e. canned cocktails) from Cutwater Spirits at The Stretch from 1pm-3pm. You must be at least 21 years old. Also, while supplies last.

Saturday, August 28 (Travers Day)

Enjoy the Race of the Year
With a field led by Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy winner Essential Quality, the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stake is not to be missed. Gates open at 7am with a first post time of 11:35am. (Sorry, early birds: breakfast at the track and tram tours will not be available on Travers Day.) The day’s card also features seven other stakes races and six Grade 1s, offering $4.6 million in total purse money. These include: the Grade 1, $750,000 Sword Dancer; the Grade 1, $600,000 Personal Ensign; the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina; the Grade 1, $600,000 Forego; and the Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial. Also running is the Grade 2, $400,000 Ballston Spa. Not going to be in Saratoga for the big race? No problem. Fox Sports will be airing a 90-minute telecast beginning at 5pm. You can catch the rest of the day’s card on FS1, beginning at 11:30am.

We Bet You’ll Like These Ice Cubes
To celebrate Travers Day, the Resorts World Founders Room at the 1863 Club, along with a number of Saratoga bars—read: Bailey’s Café, Clancy’s Tavern, Dango’s Saratoga, Horseshoe Inn Bar and Grill, The Ice House, The Parting Glass, Trotters Pub and The West Side Sports Bar and Grill in Saratoga—will offer drinkers custom ice cubes in their tipples etched with the NYRA Bets logo. The NYRA Bets ice cubes will be available while supplies last. Sorry, collectors; unless you bronze one, said cubes will melt before you can put them away in your horse racing memorabilia collection.

Sunday, August 29

Sunday Brunch, Anyone? 
Your head might be pounding from all that partying you did the night before, but the 1863 Club has a bountiful brunch buffet that will help you soak up all of those toxins. (Thankfully, it’s not a boozy brunch, unless the hair on the dog bites you.) It’ll be available at The Rail, the 1863 Club’s first-floor banquet hall, and tickets cost $85. They include the buffet, soft drinks and a Post Parade program book. For more information, click here.

Will Levith

Will Levith is Editorial Director at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living magazine. He's a native Saratogian and graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. His work has been published by Esquire, Playboy, Condé Nast Traveler, Men's Health, RealClearLife and many others. He lives in Troy with his wife, Laura, and dog, Esopus.

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