Sir Barton & the Travers Trophy


This past weekend, Arrogate dazzled Saratoga and inserted himself into the three-year-old championship conversation by winning the 1 1/4 Travers Stakes in 1.59.36, the fastest time ever in the race’s 147 years. In the winner’s circle, Arrogate’s connections accepted the Travers trophy, pictured above. Even though Sir Barton didn’t run in the Travers in 1919 (Hannibal won), he has a connection to the ‘Midsummer Derby’ every time the winning owner accepts that gold trophy.

On October 12, 1920, Man O’War and Sir Barton met on the dirt track at Kenilworth in Ontario. The purse was $75,000 with a $5,000 Tiffany gold cup promised to the winner by promoter Abe Orpen. Man O’War dominated the match race, coming home seven lengths in front of Sir Barton. Samuel Riddle accepted the gold cup from Orpen and then poured champagne into it, allowing Big Red to drink some as shown here in this post-race photograph.


Mrs. Elizabeth Riddle, wife of Man O’War’s owner Samuel Riddle, presented the trophy to Saratoga in 1936, asking only that a member of the Riddle family present the trophy to the winner of the Travers Stakes each year. A smaller version of the trophy is presented to the winning owner each year. That means that each year the racing world is reminded of the match race and each year we remember Sir Barton and Man O’War and ‘the Race of the Century’ and what it means to thoroughbred racing.

Congratulations to Arrogate on his sizzling performance and to his connections, Juddmonte Farms, Bob Baffert, and Mike Smith, on their victory in the Travers!

I found this fun little video of Arrogate as a yearling in the sales ring at Keeneland in 2014. Enjoy!




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