Aqueduct is one of New York State’s Premier racetracks, and it typically hosts regular race-days throughout the winter months. It is one of three tracks in New York, and there is no overlap between the racing at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga. Just eight miles separate Aqueduct and sister-track Belmont Park.
It has played host to thoroughbred racing since 1894, and it stages a number of valuable contests throughout the year.
It is located in South Ozone Park, in the Jamaica district of the city, and it is easily accessible by public transport. It is currently the only thoroughbred racetrack AND video slot gambling complex located within New York City itself.
Aqueduct is set in 210 acres and has a main course that has a circumference of 1 1/8 mile, whilst its outer turf course is able to host contests of up to a mile. There is also an inner turf course, which tends to be reserved for sprints. The fourth and final option is the inner dirt track, which is also used fairly frequently for races up to 1 mile.
There are 547 stalls built within the confines of the racetrack, allowing the venue to host a number of big-field contests.
The racetrack has a number of high-quality race-days and attracts large crowds as a result. It currently holds a 40,000 capacity. The facilities have been updated over the years with the opening of the horsemen’s lounge and the addition of HD screens and video boards.
Queens County opened the track in 1894, but very few improvements were made to the venue until 1941.
Aqueduct made the headlines in 1944 when it played host to the only triple dead heat in Stakes racing history, whilst a number of household names also passed through during this decade with Man O’ War, Sword Dancer, Secretariat, and Cigar all winning at the course. The latter now has a Grade 1 contest named in honor of his achievements at Aqueduct.
The track underwent a major refurbishment in 1959, with a new grandstand being built alongside additional barns and accessory buildings, this came at a cost of over $30million.
These improvements were very well-received, and further adjustments followed in the late 1980s. This included the addition of a weather-insulated paddock. The New York winter can often throw up some torrid and unpredictable conditions, and it was essential to keep the horses away from the elements.
In 2011, Aqueduct expanded further, with its multi-level 415,000 square foot casino erected, and this has since been expanded across two floors.
Aqueduct Known Track Bias
Most racetracks will have the tendency to give an advantage to or favor a horse with a particular running style. The racetrack could also favor horses drawn in a particular stall, and this is often related to the configuration of the track, and various different trips.
The general consensus about the Aqueduct track bias is that having a position on the inside is advantageous, particularly in small-fields. Handicappers have noted that posts 1-6 tend to be more profitable in both routes and sprints. Although, this is not as common on the main track.
Aqueduct was often regarded as the ideal track for front-running types, especially the inner-track which for many years, was synonymous with speed.
However, since they relayed the main track it has proved versatile, and if anything it now potentially favors fast finishers. Since the changes were brought in, some handicappers have suggested that it is sensible to oppose any horse given an inside trip, especially if it is in a field of eight or more runners.
When there has been rain in the area, most jockeys will aim to stay off the rail, particularly if the track is riding sloppy. However, on fast/firm ground, it is undoubtedly an advantage to stay on the inside.
Winning Post Positions
Although this is likely to change year-on-year, statistics show that during 2017’s winter meet (Jan-March), 17% of winners in sprints were drawn in stall 1 and were given an inside trip. However, 19% of winners were drawn in stall 6. Aqueduct plays host to a number of six-runner events during the early months of the year, so a number of these winners are likely to have been the widest draw.
It is a different story when it comes to routes, with no overall bias. Stall 4 came out marginally on top with 19.4% of winners being drawn here.
Top Trainers at Aqueduct
Aqueduct has the luxury of attracting some of New York’s top trainers, and with no overlap between the city’s three main racetracks, it allows the likes of Todd Pletcher and Jason Servis to send their top competitors to the venue.
Some trainers have a higher success rate than others at the track, and there are a number of names to keep an eye at future meets.
2018/19 Statistics (July – Jan)
Todd Pletcher (23% Win Rate)
Linda Rice (25% Win Rate)
Steven Asmussen (25% Win Rate)
Kiaran McLaughlin (27% Win Rate)
Jason Servis (28% Win Rate)
Danny Gargan (35% Win Rate)
Rob Atras (45% Win Rate)
Top Jockeys at Aqueduct
Horse performance can be greatly affected by the jockey on board, and some riders are adept at getting their horse into the perfect position.
Regular jockeys around this track will know the track bias, and they’ll know how to adapt to the ever-changing conditions, and they can play a crucial part in deciding the outcome of any given race.
There are a number of jockeys who regularly compete in the New York circuit, and here are a few of the key names to look out for:
2018/19 Statistics (July – Jan)
Reylu Gutierrez (14% Win Rate)
Dylan Davis (16% Win Rate)
Kendrick Carmouche – (17% Win Rate)
Jose Lezcano (22% Win Rate)
Junior Alvarado (24% Win Rate)
Manuel Franco (27% Win Rate)
John Velazquez (33% Win Rate)
Aqueduct Racing Season and Key Races
The Aqueduct racing season runs throughout the winter with events taking place October – March. There is an additional Spring meet, which runs for two weeks throughout April.
There are a number of big races taking place at the track with two Grade 1 events held here: The Cigar Mile and the Carter Handicap. The latter takes place in early-April.
The first Graded race of the winter meet is the Tempted Stakes, which is a Grade III event and is typically held on the first weekend of November.
Cigar Mile; Carter Handicap
Gazelle Handicap, Ruffian Handicap, Demoiselle Stakes, Go For Wand Handicap, Red Smith Handicap, Ramsen Stakes, Wood Memorial Stakes
Aqueduct Handicap, Athenia Handicap, Bay Shore Stakes, Beaugay Handicap, Bold Ruler Handicap, Bisher Stakes, Cicada Stakes, Comely Stakes, Distaff Handicap, Excelsior Handicap, Fort Marcy Handicap, Gotham Stakes, Jerome Stakes, Knickerbocker Handicap, Long Island Handicap, Nashua Stakes, Next Move Handicap, Queens County Handicap, Stuyvesant Handicap, Tempted Stakes, Tom Fool Handicap, Toboggan Handicap, Top Flight Handicap, Turnback the Alarm Handicap, Withers Stakes, Sport Page Handicap
Aqueduct Racetrack Address
110-00 Rockaway Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11420