Alpha, Golden Ticket finish in dead heat in Travers | Horse racing
Alpha and Golden Ticket finished in a dead heat in the 143rd Travers Stakes at Saratoga, the first time the famed race has ended up with two winners.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Favored Alpha and 33-1 shot Golden Ticket flashed across the finish line Saturday at the same time in the $1 million Travers Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga.
The photo-finish sign went up and a few minutes later, the race was declared a dead heat — the first time the Travers wound up with two winners in 143 runnings dating to 1864.
The 1874 Travers also ended with two horses reaching the finish line in a dead heat, but Attila was declared the winner after a runoff with Acrobat.
"I thought we were beat at first, then I thought we won," said an ecstatic Ken McPeek, who trains Golden Ticket. "I couldn't tell. I'm thrilled we finished in a dead heat."
Alpha trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and McPeek smiled and high-fived each other in the grandstand.
"It's a dead heat, but it goes in the 'W' column," McLaughlin said.
Golden Ticket, ridden by David Cohen, and Alpha, with Ramon Dominguez aboard, ran 1 ¼ miles in 2 minutes, 2.74 seconds in the Grade I race often called the Midsummer Derby.
Golden Ticket returned $26.80 on a $2 win bet and Alpha paid $4.10.
"It would have been a heartbreaker for either one of us to lose," McPeek said.