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Aqueduct Racetrack was established in 1894 when the Queens Country Jockey Club created a thoroughbred racing facility at the site of a former Brooklyn Waterworks conduit. Aqueduct has hosted some of the biggest races in the US, including the Belmont Stakes. Aqueduct’s history includes the only known triple dead heat to occur in stakes racing history, with Bossuet, Brownie and Wait A Bit finishing at the same time for the 1944 Carter Handicap.
Aqueduct Track Layout
The Aqueduct track consists of three different ovals with the main dirt track measuring 1? miles long. A middle dirt track has a one mile circumference and is made of a limestone screening base that allows for races to be run in the winter. The inside track is just over seven furlongs in length and is comprised of dirt.
Major Races and Events
Aqueduct is home to dozens of graded events and hosts races throughout the seasons due to its specially constructed inner track that allows for winter racing. The Carter Handicap and the Gazelle Stakes date back to the late 19th century and the Wood Memorial Stakes will celebrate its ninetieth anniversary in 2015.
The Carter Handicap is a seven-furlong, Grade 1 race on the dirt track for horses three years and older. Named after William Carter, a tugboat captain and contractor who supplied most of the initial purse, this race has been run with few exceptions every year since 1895. Artax set the race and track record in 1999 by recording a blistering 1:20.04.
Cigar Mile Handicap
Originally known as the NYRA Mile, the Cigar Mile Handicap is a Grade 1 race named after the Hall-of-Fame horse who took this title in 1994. This race is a flat mile in length, takes place on the dirt track and accepts horses three years and older. The record for this race is held by Discreet Cat, who ran 1:32.46 during the 2006 edition of this competition.
The Wood Memorial Stakes is considered a proving ground for the Triple Crown, with the majority of winners moving on to compete at the Kentucky Derby, the first jewel of the crown. This Grade 1 competition is nine furlongs on the dirt track, run by horses three years of age at a weight of 123 pounds. The race was inaugurated in 1925 and named after Eugene D. Wood, who was a prominent racing enthusiast and politician.
Established in 1887, the Gazelle Stakes is a Grade 2 race with a length of nine furlongs. This competition is run on the dirt track and accepts fillies that are three years old. Hosting duties for this race have been split mostly by Aqueduct Racetrack and Belmont Park, with the stakes being run at Aqueduct since 2009.