Saturday, September 3, 2011


The co-chairs for the 11th annual Travers Celebration today announced that this year’s event raised $105,000 for its two beneficiaries: the Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T.) and the Times Union Hope Fund.

The $105,000 donation marks a record-breaking fundraising total for the annual event, which celebrates the arrival of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes.

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) President and CEO Charles Hayward and 2011 Travers Celebration co-chairs George R. Hearst III and Betsy Senior today joined representatives from B.E.S.T. and the Times Union Hope Fund to present the donation in the winner’s circle at Saratoga Race Course.

“The 11th annual Travers Celebration not only highlighted the crowned jewel of the summer racing season, but also raised significant contributions for two vitally important organizations within our community,” said Hayward. “We are thrilled to announce this donation to B.E.S.T. and the Times Union Hope Fund as we come upon the conclusion of another tremendous meet at Saratoga Race Course.”

Sponsored by Macy*s and Northeastern Fine Jewelry, more than 350 individuals attended the Travers Celebration, which was held on August 25 at Saratoga Race Course. The annual event featured live music, dancing, and a silent and live auction, with all proceeds benefitting B.E.S.T. and the Times Union Hope Fund.

Throughout the summer, a portion of proceeds from all merchandise sold at the five NYRA Stores at Saratoga Race Course also benefited the Travers Celebration and its charitable partners. Additionally, a portion of proceeds from all Coca-Cola sales on track was earmarked for both charities.

The 2011 Travers Celebration was co-chaired by Betsy Senior, co-owner of Senior & Shopmaker Gallery in Manhattan; and George R. Hearst III, Publisher and CEO of the Times Union.

The Backstretch Employee Service Team is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing care and service to maintain the health and well-being of employees in the backstretch.

The Times Union Hope Fund, a component fund of The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, raises money and awards grants to after school and summer programs serving at risk children in Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties.

The Travers Celebration has raised more than $1.1 million for non-profit organizations in the thoroughbred industry and greater Capital Region since its inception over a decade ago.