Featuring Pimlico Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack

Submitted by
on December 11, 2013

Famous horse race tracks exist all over the world, and the mention of famous horse races immediately is correlated to the venues. For instance, the Melbourne Cup goes hand-n-hand with Flemington Racecourse. The Royal Ascot is a series of famous horse races held at Ascot Racecourse United Kingdom. Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong is yet another. In the United States, the list goes on. Churchill Downs is home to the 1st leg of the Triple Crown the Kentucky Derby. While, Belmont Park hosts the 3rd and final leg of the Triple Crown the Belmont Stakes. The 2nd leg of the Triple Crown is the Preakness Stakes held at Pimlico Race Course. The Wood Memorial Stakes and the Cigar Mile Handicap are two of the well-recognized races held at Aqueduct Race Track. These are only a few of the famous horse race tracks from around the world.

Now it is time for a little comparison of Pimlico Race Course and Aqueduct Race Track.

Pimlico Race Course is synonymous with the Preakness Stakes. However, there is much more to this racecourse. In 1870, it formally opened its doors to the public in Baltimore, Maryland. Before a crowd of 43,000, it was the site of the match race on November 1st, 1938 between Seabiscuit and War Admiral. Seabiscuit came out on top in the 2nd Pimlico Special which was the match race. This racecourse has much history and has gone through a lot. Pimlico Race Course survived the Great Fire of Baltimore in 1904 and the Great Depression of the 1930s along with several notable Baltimore riots. It even endured Prohibition and an anti-gambling movement in 1910. The horse races held here attract athletes from all over the Mid-Atlantic area. In fact, the 2007 Preakness Stakes saw attendance of 121,263 making it the most watched sporting event in Maryland history. Of course, this day also saw USD 87.2 million in wagers. Aside from the grade 1 Preakness Stakes, Pimlico Race Course also hosts the grade 1 Pimlico Special where 18 winners have been awarded Horse of the Year or an Eclipse Award as the best horse in their division. These include Assault, Cigar, Seabiscuit, Skip Away and Whirlaway among others. The Pimlico Race Course record was set in 1991 by Farma Way who won the 1 3/16th miles Pimlico Special with a time of 1:52.40. The Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and the Dixie Stakes are among the grade 2 races held at Pimlico Race Course. Twenty-three fillies that have won The Black-Eyed Susan went on to be recognized as Champions according to the Maryland Jockey Club, including Milkmaid, who won the inaugural event in 1919, Royal Delta, Serena’s Song and Twilight Tear among others. The Dixie Stakes was inaugurated in 1870 making it the oldest graded stakes race in Maryland history. It is run every year in mid-May, and ten winners or 2nd place finishers of the Dixie Stakes have gone on to win an Eclipse Award or be named Champions, including Whirlaway in 1942, Armed in 1946, Assault in 1947, Sky Classic in 1992 and most recently Paradise Creek in 1994 among others. Pimlico Race Course is the home of numerous horse races, and these only give a small peek into all the action. In Baltimore, it is the racecourse that is most thought of when thinking of horse racing.

In comparison, Aqueduct Race Track is both a horse racing track and casino in South Ozone Park, Queens, New York. Since its opening on September 27th, 1894, Aqueduct Race Track has gone through expansions, closures, re-locations and renovations. Today, it is the only racecourse within the New York City limits, and it is home to the New York Racing Association’s headquarters. With seating for 17,000 attendees, the racecourse can accommodate 40,000 race fans in total. Aqueduct Race Track has endured closures including the May 2007 proposal to close Aqueduct Race Track. This famous horse race track is home to many horse races including the grade 1 Carter Handicap, the Cigar Mile Handicap and the Wood Memorial Stakes.

The Carter Handicap had its first running in 1895, and it has been contested over different distances including the current 7 furlongs distance that began in 1903. Artax set a Carter Handicap and Aqueduct Race Track record in 1999 winning the race in 1:20.04. There is a five-way tie for horses with the most wins of the Carter Handicap of two. Audacious won in 1920 and 1921; Osmand won in 1928 and 1929; Flying Heels won in 1930 and 1931; Forego won in 1974 and 1975; and Lite the Fuse won in 1995 and 1996. The Cigar Mile Handicap is named in honor of the beloved race horse Cigar. Although it is one of the more recent horse races at Aqueduct Race Track inaugurated in 1981, it attracts a good field of race horses to compete each year in late November. In 2006, Discreet Cat won the race in 1:32.46 setting the speed record for the Cigar Mile Handicap. With wins in 2002 and 2003, Congaree holds the record for the most number of wins by a horse. Jerry Bailey has jockeyed the winning horse in 1994, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003 giving him the most wins by a jockey. The Wood Memorial Stakes was inaugurated in 1925 at Aqueduct Race Track. From 1951 until today, it is run over a distance of 1 1/8th miles and boasts of a USD 1,000,000 purse that is only available to three-year-old horses. Eddie Arcaro rode 9 winning horses to victory and holds the record for the most number of wins by a jockey. Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons trained 7 of the winning horses, and holds the records for the most number of wins by a trainer. There is a 4-way tie for the most number of wins by an owner of 4 each. The winning owners are Belair Stable, Wheatley Stable, Greentree Stable and Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney. The record for the fastest victory was set in 2005 by Bellamy Road with a winning time of 1:47.16 and also by 17 ½ lengths.

Both Pimlico Race Course and Aqueduct Race Track have rich histories and host exciting horse races. The famous horse race track that wins your heart is a personal choice so although this was touted as a comparison it was more a medium to highlight each.

Article contributed by: Jenny Wilson

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