I went to Aqueduct for the first time on January 29, 2005. That was the first year that I followed horse racing year-round, and after nearly seven years in Brooklyn, I had yet to visit the only extant track in New York City.
I was drawn to the Big A that freezing day not by the local feature, the Paumonok Handicap (though it was a race of which I was shortly to become quite fond, and which has since disappeared from the New York racing calendar), but by the Sunshine Millions cards at Santa Anita and Gulfstream, pitting California- and Florida-breds against each other.
My friend Jonathan and I had checked the racing calendar as we planned our maiden voyage, and the regional rivalry of the Sunshine Millions appealed to both of us. Eleven years later, I’m still a sucker for a racing day that celebrates regional breeding programs.