Happy Opening Week of racing at Saratoga Race Course!
Regardless of whether you’re near to Saratoga (and in attendance this summer meet), or you’re far from it somewhere else in the world, you can celebrate the track’s early history with our new line of limited edition historical racing postcards. These are now available two ways: online on Etsy, and in Downtown Saratoga Springs at The Dark Horse Mercantile retail store at 445 Broadway—John Morrissey was the quintessential “dark horse,” after all!
This project evolved out of our love for Saratoga early Thoroughbred racing history and the highly entertaining sports journalism of the period, as well as our fascination with the legend that was “Old Smoke” John Morrissey–and the 15 years (1863–1877) that he dedicated to founding and managing the sport in Saratoga Springs until his death at age 47 in 1878.
The launch consists of the following:
Three postcards begin with stories from the 1863 and 1864 race meets. Morrissey initiated the first Thoroughbred meet in 1863 that took place at Saratoga’s trotting track on the north side of Union Avenue. Immediately following the success of Morrissey’s four days of racing in August 1863, he recruited subscribers to create a permanent racing club, raising more than $20,000 and establishing the Saratoga Racing Association that funded the building of the new track across the street. The course opened at its current location for the inaugural 1864 meeting and featured on Opening Day the first Travers Stake for 3-year-olds, named after Assocation President William R. Travers.
One postcard includes an excerpt of an 1874 interview with Morrissey in which he discussed his founding of the local sport and its success over the previous decade. Additionally, a sticker is for sale that matches the design of one of the 1863 postcards.
Collect them all, mail them to friends and family via snail mail–sending Saratoga postcards never go out of style!