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The origin of todays begin in the new York town of Goshen in 1838 when a 1/3 mile circular track was constructed for Harness Racing. It is still in operation and is the oldest continuously operated horse track in North America.

 In 1864 John Hunter and William Travers built a track in Saratoga New York which is the longest running Thoroughbred track in North America. Also in 1864 the Travers Stakes was established to honor one of it's founders and that race is the second oldest run stakes race in North America.

 After the initial success of the upstate venture tracks started to spring up in the New York City area. In 1866 Leonard Jerome opened the track bearing his name and ran a race called The Belmont Stakes named after August Belmont one of his main backers. In 1879 the first Coney Island track was erected at Brighton Beach. It was followed in 1884 by Sheepshead Bay another creation of Leonard Jerome who was quarrelling with his board of directors at Jerome Park. The marque race to come out of Sheepshead was the Suburban Handicap. The last of the Coney Island tracks Gravesend ran it's inaugural meet in 1885 operated by the Dwyer brothers for whom a stakes race was named it also brought about the Brooklyn handicap the Gazelle and Tremont stakes. By 1887 New York needed water more than a race track and Jerome park was converted into a reservoir. To fill the void John A. Morris opened Morris Park in 1889. The Belmont Stakes was moved to Morris Park and on June 10, 1890 both the Belmont and Preakness stakes were run at Morris Park. The Champagne, Ladies Handicap, Matron Stakes and the Metropolitan Handicap all had their origins at Morris Park. Still not done Aqueduct Race Track opened in 1894 and featured the Carter Handicap. After John Morris death attendance begin to decline and in 1905 was replaced with August Belmont's new endeavor Belmont Park which took on the stakes schedule at Morris Park. Up till now most of racing was associated with New York high society until in 1909 when the "peoples racetrack" was opened in Jamaica such races as the Wood Memorial, Prioress, Frizette Stakes, Paumonok, Excellsior, Remsen, Bed O' Roses and Jamacia Handicaps were run. In 1899 Empire City Race Track for Standardbreds was constructed in Yonkers. William Clark the tracks founder died in 1900 and the track remained idle until 1907 when it was reopened for thoroughbred racing. In 1942 it was converted back to Harness racing and is commonly known as Yonkers Raceway.

 In 1910 the New York world of Horseracing came to a crashing halt as then Governor Charles Evan Hughes and his administration banned gambling in New York State. When racing finally resumed in 1913 only Saratoga, Belmont, Aqueduct, Goshen, Empire and Jamaica survived all of the Coney Island tracks disappeared. All of these tracks left behind a rich legacy of stakes races which are still contested today The Belmont Stakes, The Suburban Handicap, The Brooklyn Handicap and The Metropolitan Mile which made up the New York triple crown.

 In 1940 New York State approved pari-mutual racing on Standardbreds. This led to Roosevelt raceway on Long Island and Batavia Downs in Western New York being opened in 1940 both tracks operated night racing a new era in racing history. Soon after tracks were added in Saratoga(1941) and Buffalo(1942) over the years harness tracks were added in Vernon(1953) and Monticello(1958). A thoroughbred track Finger Lakes was opened in 1962 and a short lived Quarter Horse track Tioga Park in 1976 in The town of Tioga. The latter was reopened as a harness track in 2006.

 By the time the year 2000 arrived Jamaica was long gone, Goshen was a historic site and no wagering was allowed when it held racing. Outside of the NYRA tracks most of the others were crumbling or shuttered the only thing keeping them alive was simulcasting. Then late in 2001 as if a gift from heaven, New York State authorized Racinos for Aqueduct, Finger Lakes and the six Standardbred tracks in the state. So today when you drive into the parking lot of one of these tracks it looks like the golden days are back but looks can be deceiving. If your lucky enough to find where you can place a bet or even buy a program your probably going to see the same couple of hundred people who came to play before the Racinos arrived!