Aqueduct race track opened on September 27, 1894 in Queens, New York. The original track was torn down in 1956 and the new facility opened in 1959. In 1975, the inner track was constructed to facilitate winter racing. Aqueduct race track is affectionately called "The Big A" by denizens of the horseracing industry and is widely acknowledged to be among the most important tracks in North America.
Throughout its history, Aqueduct has hosted countless stakes races. Among the bigger ones were the New York Stallion Stakes, Aqueduct Handicap, Stymie Handicap, Broadway Handicap and The Count Fleet.
Aqueduct Race Track Facts
|Main Course||:||1 1/8 miles|
|Inner Dirt Course||:||1 mile|
|Turf Course||:||7/8 mile|
|Parking Capacity||:||8,000 Cars|
|Total Seating Capacity||:||17,000|
Aqueduct Race Track History
The original Aqueduct race track opened in late September 1894. It was organized as the Queens County Jockey Club by Albany lobbyist Thomas Reilly, Harlem deputy fire department chief Francis Reilly and Brooklyn hotel owner Robert Tucker. They leased land on the site of the present day Aqueduct from the family of the original Dutch settlers.
After Aqueduct race track was finally recognized by The Jockey Club in 1895, track improvements were made. The caliber of racing also improved along with these. Many of the notable stakes races of today such as the Carter Handicap and the Dwyer Stakes, had their origins in this track. The presidency of Phillip Dwyer from 1905 to 1917 saw Aqueduct's emergence as a major racing center. He acquired more land, enlarged the size of the track and completely rebuilt the stands.
In 1955, the old track was torn down and in its place a state-of-the art facility was built. The new mega-facility, costing $33 million, opened in the fall of 1959. Upon its opening for a 66-day meet, all records were broken. The track was referred to as New Aqueduct to distinguish it from the old track.
Big races have been held on the track since then, a testament to Aqueduct's growing stature in the industry. In 1985, Aqueduct race track was host to the prestigious Breeders Cup.