Travers Stakes brings longtime friends together

August 25, 2017 07:51 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The 148th running of the Travers will go off at 5:44 p.m. Saturday. It's a two minute race that often brings together lifelong friends.

Ken, Doug, Terry, Rick, Steve and Mike have more than 180 combined years of Travers experience. They all started working at IBM in North Carolina in the early 1980s. Ken's originally from Scotia. He invited the guys to come to their first Travers together in 1986.

"My parents set us up in their basement where they rented cots. It was like a military barracks," Ken said.

A tradition was born.

"We just said, 'Let's do it. Let's crank it up,'" Doug said.

Ken now owns a home a couple blocks from the track. They come every year. They arrive on Thursday and leave on Sunday. After three decades, they have their routine down. They study the race card and make their selections. Terry doesn't share his.

"It's survival of the fittest. It's a jungle out there," he said.

But the races are secondary to the friendships that were first forged on Travers weekend 32 years ago.

"We've been close ever since. I love these guys. They're just a lot of fun to be with," Steve said.

The guys say they win some and lose some. They say their only sure bet is that they'll be together again in Saratoga next Travers weekend.

"If you come back in 20 years, I'm pretty sure we'll be here," Ken said.

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WNYT Staff

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