New York Horseracing

New York can be considered as the birthplace of horseracing in the United States. In 1665, the Newmarket course was established in Salisbury, New York, a segment of what is now known as the Hempstead Plains in Long Island, New York. The very first horseracing meet in North America was supervised by Richard Nicolls, New York's colonial governor. Today, the area is occupied by Nassau County, New York, region of Greater Westbury and East Garden City. The South Westbury section is aptly known as Salisbury.

In 1902, a group headed by August Belmont II and William C. Whitney (former Secretary of the Navy) sought land on Long Island to build the most elaborate track in America, one modeled after the great race courses of Europe.

They found what they were looking for on the border of Queens County and Nassau County. Originally known as Foster's Meadow, the 650 acres of land included a turreted Tudor-Gothic mansion owned by William de Forest Manice, which was to serve as the track's Turf and Field Club until 1956.

On May 4, 1905, Belmont Park opened its doors to the public. It prompted the first of countless traffic jams in Long Island history as more than 40,000 fans, tried to catch the first race post time of 3 p.m.

August Belmont II's Blandy, at 7-1, held off 100-1 shot Oliver Cromwell in the $1,500 Belmont Inaugural. Later, James R. Keen's Sysonby, who was ranked No. 30 on the Blood-Horse Magazine's top 100 horses of the 20th century, made his 3-year-old debut against the super filly Beldame, another of Belmont's charges. In the stretch, Sysonby got unexpected competition from 20-1 Race King, and the two hit the wire in a dead heat.

The most celebrated race at Belmont Park is the Belmont Stakes, the final jewel of racing's Triple Crown. Since 1919, when Sir Barton was the first to sweep the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont, the "Test of the Champion" has crowned only 12 winners!

Also, thoroughbred horse racing in the United States has its own Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York. The Hall of Fame honors remarkable horses, jockeys, owners, and trainers.

New York Horseracing Tracks

Horseracing Tracks