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The Travers Stakes was named for William R Travers, a leading sportsman and for a time the president of the Saratoga Association.

First run in 1864, the inaugural Travers Stakes was won by the top-class colt Kentucky (one of the best sons of Lexington) and was owned by Travers in partnership with John Hunter.

The racing man was humorous and liked all sport. So perhaps it is not surprising that he went one day, with a man who had a rat problem, on a mission to buy a good rat-killing dog.

They found such a critter and asked that he be set on the trail of a rodent.

Soon the dog was in hot pursuit of a large rat, but when the dog cornered the rat, the scurrilous vermin turned and bared it teeth menacingly. The dog turned and fled.

The verdict from Travers was: “Buy the rat!”

Somehow, in that statement, I believe there is wisdom for our use today.