Saratoga Race Course
Saratoga race course is located in Saratoga Springs, New York. It was opened in 1863, making it the oldest venue for organized sports in the United States. Two men, John Hunter and William R Travers had the track constructed.
The Travers Stakes is the oldest thoroughbred horse race and it is held at Saratoga race course every year. The Saratoga race meet now lasts for six weeks ending on Labor Day; originally it only ran for four days.
There are two popular nicknames for the Saratoga race course. The first, The Spa, is due to the fact there are natural springs nearby, the second, The Graveyard of Champions, is due to the fact that many champions have been surprisingly defeated here after having a run of good races. A horse called Man o’ War had 21 consecutive wins under his belt before he ran at Saratoga where he was defeated. Another horse, Gallant Fox was beaten by a complete outsider Jim Dandy who had odds of 100-1 during the Travers Stakes race. Secretariat, fresh from winning the triple crown was defeated by Onion at Saratoga. Some might think the course was cursed with the bad luck that seems to befall its champions.
Anyone who had a bet on Jim Dandy perhaps made himself or herself rather rich on the day of his surprise win. Sometimes when you are gambling a stroke of luck like that can really brighten your day. Having said that how many people would have actually bet on a horse at those odds, and if they did would they have had the courage to gamble enough to win really big?