Travers Stakes 2012: Underdog Golden Ticket Proves Alpha's Equal in Dead Heat

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IAugust 25, 2012

Associated Press/Hans Pennink
Associated Press/Hans Pennink

History was made out at Saratoga Springs on Saturday, August 25, when heavy underdog Golden Ticket finished the race in a dead heat with Alpha—the favorite to win. 

According to the AP:

The photo finish sign flashed on the toteboard, and a few minutes later, the crowd roared when the dead heat sign made it official. It was the first dead heat in the 143 runnings of the Travers, and a rare finish for any Grade 1 race.

This is a stunning result by any standards, but even more so when you consider the long odds involved for Golden Ticket. 

This horse hadn't won a single race in 2012 except a Maiden Special Weight at Gulfstream Park in February. This is the first time all season long that Golden Ticket competed in a Grade 1 race, and the result speaks for itself. 

Alpha, on the other hand, was one of the competitors at the Kentucky Derby back in May, has won four races in 2012 and has a better pedigree. This wasn't supposed to happen. And, if it weren't for a furious finish by Alpha, Golden Ticket would have won the race outright. 

To further illustrate the vast disparity between the two horses, look no further than what both horses paid out in the end, per the AP report: "Alpha paid $4.10 and 33-1 shot Golden Ticket returned $26.80 to win."

For me, races like this one are the very reason I don't bet on horse racing. The sport is highly unpredictable, and you never know when a horse nobody's heard about will steal a victory. 


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