Aqueduct racetrack, known to horse players everywhere as the “Big A,” is the only racetrack actually in New York City. It is located in the borough of Queens, near JFK international Airport, and just a few miles from its sister track, Belmont Park.
Aqueduct first opened in 1894. It was named after a conduit that brought water to New York City. It was rebuilt in the late 50s and the new Aqueduct opened in 1959. When Belmont Park was closed for renovation for 6 years during the 1960s, the Belmont Stakes were run at Aqueduct.
Aqueduct is the only racetrack that sports an “inner dirt track.” In early December, the Aqueduct meeting moves to the inner track, a heated surface that resists freezing. The “winter meeting” at the Big A moves back to the main track in early March.
The last major improvements to the track were completed in the late 1980s. Today New Yorkers fear that their only “city” track will disappear.