The Travers is coming up on its 141st running on Saturday, Aug. 28. That longevity speaks for itself, so it may come as a surprise that what has become arguably one of the biggest and most anticipated events in horseracing, didn't have its own promotional poster until just 24 years ago, when Greg Montgomery came along.
I had a conversation with a fellow in Saratoga who owned [an art gallery] on Broadway, who told me all about this amazing race that happens in August. After he finished, I said 'no disrespect, but if it's that great of a race, how come there's no poster or anything that announces it?' said Montgomery, who lives in Albany.
Montgomery was put in touch with the right people and before he knew it, he was presenting a silkscreened image he'd made for a graduate course at Saint Rose to Travers big wigs.
"I showed it to them and I've been doing it ever since," said Montgomery.
He had moved to the Capital District from New Mexico to take a job at GE, which was helping him get his master's. After his skills from a silk screening class scored him the Travers gig, things got a little busier, with the biggest challenge being to create something distinctly different, each year.
"For the first poster, the gallery owner had told me a lot about the history of the race and all the famous people, families and horses associated with it. I thought the best way to show all that history and pageantry was by using the racing colors, so I went over to the racing museum and looked at all the silks there. I picked out about 15 and tried to put them all in the poster without letting any one of them dominate," said Montgomery.