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In the summer of 1985 I saw a small poster announcing “The Travers.” When I inquired about this “Travers,” I was told with great flourish of the importance of the Midsummer Derby. Not a detail was spared about the world-famous horses, the famous racing families and stables, the canny trainers, gallant jockeys, celebrities and, yes, even the politicians. I was astonished — and delighted. But, I wondered, how was it that such a monumental event had such a modest poster to announce it? Well, they said, if I had a better idea, perhaps I should try it. So, I did. I got to work immediately on my first poster — the 1986 Travers Silks.
The jockey’s brilliantly colored silks, I thought, graphically showed the pageantry, color, and rich history of this the oldest thoroughbred stakes race in the United States. So, to research the horses, families, stables and silks, I went to Saratoga Springs’ racing museum. I sketched some 25 or 30 silks, but after much painful editing settled on just 15 silks for the poster — five rows of three. This tall, slender poster set the format for The Colors of Racing poster series.
The Travers Silks poster was given away as a party favor to attendees of the Travers Ball in August of 1986. The poster has been out of print for many years, and copies are exceedingly rare — and dear.
Originally, only Travers winners were to be on the 1986 Travers Silks poster. But, in the end, I just had to include a little intrigue. Two of the 15 horses represented by the silks did not win the Travers. Can you find them? Answer is below.
Answer: Secretariat and Affirmed did not win the Travers.
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