Power Cap

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25 November 2009

Aqueduct Trip Report

Ozone Park- After a few months away from New York racing I took the A train ride down to Aqueduct today. There were rumors on a message board that the grandstand was shuttered. After a few weeks of trying I could not get a strait answer from anyone on the grandstand -if they can't figure this out how can they figure out the races- so I had to go see for myself. The grandstand remains open. Most sections are closed but two sections remain open, which leaves hundreds of seats for the two dozen or so people that watch the races from the "power perch". The highlight of the facility is the nice Holiday display by the front entrance.
From Power Cap

The clubhouse entrance

What I like best about the Aqueduct grandstand is that both the paddock and the races can be watched from the grandstand seats. You can spend $5K on Yankees seats but they will be no better than the seats available in the Aqueduct grandstand-the Aqueduct seats are free everyday. There are loads of nuggets to be mined from up there. From fractious horses in the paddock to bad trips on the track.

Just a few souls in the grandstand

Year after year it is the same people at Aqueduct everyday. They are dedicated fans that deserve better than the condition that Aqueduct is in. New faces are few and far between- for the horseplayers that remain Aqueduct is a home away from home. Their dedication is tested by the condition of the venue. There is bird dung on most outside exposed surfaces and around every corner is disrepair.
From Power Cap

grandstand is open but nobody is home

Just 18 years ago the place looked like a top notch facility. As time as passed the facility has deteriorated with little help from NYRA or the state. It is an injustice that other local sports venues have received billions in aid while Aqueduct is left to rot. Outwardly the place is a dump but inwardly Aqueduct is a very rich place, perhaps the richest in all of New York City. There is no pretension at Aqueduct; it is filled with such a varied cast of characters. On top of the characters the people that attend the races there are people of dedication; almost like loving children that take care of their terminally sick mother when others would have dispatched her to a nursing home long ago. Make no mistake, Aqueduct is sick and she needs a full rejuvenation to return to her past glory so some of the fair-weather children can return to her side.

From Power Cap

a gray, drab fall day at the Big A

The racing card was interesting for a Wednesday and was one of the reasons I made the trip out there. There were two turf races -turf rail was out 18 feet very speed favoring- the competitive racing yielded many very attainable longshots. Awesome Mich made the day for me. It is too bad that handicapping is esoteric, if everyone could learn the ways of form, pace and class this game would once again be the king of sports. However handicapping will always be a challenge- if the masses are to return they will demand a clean and inviting facility, something Aqueduct is not.

From Power Cap

the play of day yields a generous return


Teresa said...

That flickr photo is amazing...wish that I could have seen the place then.

Stephen Alicknovic said...

Slam Bamm Bang!

Dat's a $1,100 winner ticket!!

That's how you do it kid!!

Congrats on a score!

Power Cap show'em how it's done!

No redboards here...

The_Knight_Sky said...

Love Jason Moran's photography !


Hey mon! They replaced a lovely paddock like that with The Pit?

What a ridiculously looking paddock they have in place today where the fans can't get close to the horses or the personalities. I know it was designed for "winter racing". But is there a more uglier paddock in American racing than the one at The Big A?

Now enough of that. I'm glad you took the trip to Queens and told it like it is. Nothing personal against New Yorkers but everyone who attends lives and works near The Big A deserves much better than this neglected facility.

PS: thanks for the link back to my blog pictures. It seems like this story keeps getting swept under the rug by the so called "Friends" of New York racing.

Leave it to the true bloggers to get it out in the open. Hopefully progress will be made sooner rather than later on this issue. ;-)

G. C. said...

Teresa got it right, those 1990's pics from Moran are awesome(word of the week).

I vaguely remember Aqueduct from the 1980's. My pops used to go every Saturday and sit in the grandstand with his friend Marty the teacher and a black guy whose name I forgot. Another time I remember spending time in the backyard and there was a band playing and the place was crowded. Another memory is a chili competition and the crowd was able to sample various Chili recipes, I remember a country western theme to the whole day as the day was sponsored by 103.5 which was a country station in New York during the 1980's. There was a big crowd in the Aqueduct backyard, a place long shuttered.

We still love the place but it needs to be maintained to a higher standard.

SaratogaSpa said...

Great photos and as always, great handicapping! Thanks

rather rapid said...

truly disturbing to see--that like here in KCMO--the facility in NYC is basically abandoned. and the question as to why you would therefore spend a thin dime to renovate it. possibly the future here is strictly in internet wagering and skeletal physical facilities for fans. spend the $$$ on the backstretch.

Teresa said...

Rather rapid: the facility was closed/abandoned when the VLT project was approved and a tentative starting date was set. And we all know how that turned out.

TKS: The Turfway paddock gets my vote for ugliest paddock that I've seen in person.

The_Knight_Sky said...

Okay Teresa.
I'll take your word for it.

But you just saw from Moran photography how splendid Aqueduct used to be.

Slots or no slots.
It shall rise again !!