Jamaica Race Course was an American thoroughbred horse racing facility operated by the Metropolitan Jockey Club in Jamaica, New York. The 1 mile (1.6 km) track opened on April 27, 1903, a day which featured the inaugural running of the Excelsior Handicap. Eugene D. Wood, one of the founders and largest stockholder, served as its first president. On his death in April 1924, Dr. Edward P. Kilroe was appointed president to replace him. The Wood Memorial Stakes is named in Eugene Wood's honor.
Legendary Hall of Fame horse trainer Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons was the first to train at Jamaica Race Course and Native Dancer made a winning debut here on April 19, 1952. The facility's attendance record of 64,679 was set on Memorial Day, 1945. It was home to ongoing races such as the Prioress Stakes, Frizette Stakes, Paumonok Handicap, Excelsior Handicap, Wood Memorial Stakes, Remsen Handicap, Bed O' Roses Handicap, and the Jamaica Handicap.
In 1955, the Greater New York Association took over management of Jamaica Race Course along with Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course and decided to undertake renovations to Aqueduct in South Ozone Park, the other track in the Greater Jamaica area. Jamaica took on the Big A dates during Aqueduct's renovation, after which it would be sold for redevelopment as a housing project. On August 1, 1959, with Aqueduct reopening that fall, Jamaica ceased operations and was torn down the following year. Today the Rochdale Village housing development occupies the former site of Jamaica Race Course.
The racetrack was served by the adjacent Locust Manor station on the Long Island Rail Road.
Famous quotes containing the words race and/or jamaica:
“Democracy shows not only its power in reforming governments, but in regenerating a race of menand this is the greatest blessing of free governments.”
—Andrew Jackson (17671845)
“So in Jamaica it is the aim of everybody to talk English, act English and look English. And that last specification is where the greatest difficulties arise. It is not so difficult to put a coat of European culture over African culture, but it is next to impossible to lay a European face over an African face in the same generation.”
—Zora Neale Hurston (18911960)