The historical Travers Stakes was inaugurated in 1864 and was named after the then Saratoga Racing Association president, William R. Travers. Not only was the race named after him but his horse by the name of Kentucky won the very first Travers Stakes. It is a thoroughbred horse race for colts, geldings and fillies that are three years of age, and is a Grade 1 event. In 1999 the purse was increased to $1 million and it is one of the most anticipated races of the Saratoga Racecourse season. This year, the 142nd event was held on Saturday, 27 August 2011.
Fortunately, the 2011 Travers Stakes was scheduled for Saturday, as all racing was cancelled on Sunday due to Hurricane Irene. It was a day of disappointment and joy for both Todd Pletcher (trainer) and Mike Repole. Unfortunately Uncle Mo missed his victory in the King’s Bishop Stakes by a nose, with Stay Thirsty delivering a magnificent performance and winning the Travers Stakes with ease. Repole commented that Uncle Mo was still a wonderful horse that ran a good race, but that together with Todd Pletcher his future would be decided, and that retiring this racing great would be an option. Pletcher commented that he understood the emotions that Repole was feeling, as Uncle Mo had just managed to recover from a liver disease that was life threatening, and could have won, but missed it, and that they would monitor the horse closely, as he gave a brilliant performance. Stay Thirsty on the other hand, remained just behind Shackleford who was setting the pace, and as the field moved forward to head for the finish line, Stay Thirsty made his move with the encouragement of jockey Javier Castellano, and was able to secure a satisfactory victory.
Pletcher views Stay Thirsty as the best three-year-old in the industry at present, and his jockey does not disagree. Speaking to the press after the race, Castellano commented that just as Bernadini, Stay Thirsty’s sire, was a late bloomer, so was Stay Thirsty. He went on to say that Stay Thirsty is still developing, and that he is proving to everyone through his brilliant performances that he is the three-year-old to look out for.