G1 Whitney Invitational Handicap to Be Commemorated With New Trophy & Blanket
By Eric Wing; Mark Bardack | 08/02/2013 01:08 PM ET
The Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap will feature new elements for the winning connections when it returns for its 86th running at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, August 3.
For the first time in the history of the celebrated race, the winner will be feted with a special custom-designed horse blanket made of Marylou Whitney pink roses.
The blanket's assembly is spearheaded by Susan Lee Laing of Wilton, NY, who was responsible for designing the Travers horse blanket for 18 years. She began working on the quilted base for the Whitney blanket several weeks ago and will hand-sew approximately 500 Marylou Whitney pink roses to the blanket on Saturday morning.
The Whitney Invitational Handicap will also be distinguished by a new sterling silver, three-handled chalice trophy that will be designated for the winning owner of the race from here forward. The trophy, which will become a permanent icon of the Whitney Handicap, is adorned with the Whitney crest to commemorate one of Saratoga's most prestigious and historic races. The Whitney Trophy will make its debut this Saturday for the 86th edition of the Grade 1 stakes which goes to post at 5:45 p.m.
The Whitney Invitational Handicap coincides with the formal celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first organized four-day race meeting in Saratoga Springs on August 3, 1863.
The day will feature numerous special events and activities to commemorate the sesquicentennial, including: a specially designed cake from Buddy Valastro of Carlo's Bakery, the setting for the popular television series "Cake Boss; a free commemorative Saratoga Sesquicentennial poster designed by equine cartoonist Pierre E. "Peb" Bellocq (with paid admission, while supplies last); and the first in a series of five $15,000 win-wager opportunities, courtesy of Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson, honorary chairs of the Saratoga 150 committee.
For additional information about events at Saratoga Race Course, click here.