A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 27, 2007
Big Sandy (Belmont Park nickname)

“Big Sandy” is the nickname of the racetrack at Belmont Park, perhaps a reflection of the old 1920s “Big Apple” name for the New York racetracks and the “Big A” (Aqueduct). Although several horses were named “Big Sandy” since the early 1900s, the “Big Sandy” nickname probably arose simply because the track is big and sandy.
Citations for “Big Sandy” have been found in print since only the early 1990s. “(LeRoy—ed.) Jolley refers to the track as ‘Big Sandy’” was printed in the Los Angeles (CA) Times on October 29, 1990. The “Big Sandy” nickname was possibly coined by American Hall of Fame Thoroughbred horse trainer LeRoy Jolley (1938-2017).
Belmont Park has also been called “The Championship Track.” The Belmont Stakes has been called the “Run for the Carnations” and the “Test of a Champion.”
Wikipedia: Belmont Park
Belmont Park is a major thoroughbred horse-racing facility located in the hamlet of Elmont, New York in Nassau County on Long Island (just outside of New York City). Its mile-and-a-half (2.4 km) main track is the largest dirt course in Thoroughbred racing. It first opened May 4, 1905.
Physical Attributes
The 430 acre (1.7 km²) racing, training and barn complex is located on the western edge of the Nassau County region known as the Hempstead Plains. Just a few miles east on the same plains, the first racing meet in North America was held in 1665, supervised by colonial governor Richard Nicolls.
The dirt racecourse — known officially as the Main Track and nicknamed Big Sandy by racing followers — has a circumference of 1½ miles (2,414 m).
8 July 1913, New York (NY) Times, pg. 8:
Belmont Park Entries.
FIFTH RACE.—Four-year-olds and upward, steeplechase handicap; about two miles. (...) Big Sandy, 146 [pounds].
29 October 1990, Boston (MA) Globe, “Tragedy overshadows triumph at Belmont” by Ron Indrisano, pg. 29:
“I learned a whole bunch the first time I ran Unbridled at Belmont,” said trainer Carl Nafzger, referring to Unbridled’s disappointing fourth in the Belmont Stakes. “They call this track ‘Big Sandy’ and my horse wasn’t muscularly fit for the Belmont. I came here hoping to correct my mistakes and we got the job done.”
29 October 1990, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Breeders’ Cup Analysis: On the Day After Tragedy, Belmont Debate Continues” by Bill Christine, pg. C19, col. 3:
LeRoy Jolley, who trains Meadow Star, the undefeated winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, was critical of Belmont’s racing surface even before Saturday. Jolley refers to the track as “Big Sandy.”
2 June 1991, Newsday (Long Island, NY), “Horse Racing: Wash Away That Bias At Belmont” by John Pricci, pg. 25:
As you know, consistent watering, especially in protracted dry spells, retards old “big sandy,” as Leroy Jolley likes to call Belmont Park.
8 June 1991, Buffalo (NY) News, “Picking Belmont Stakes Winner Is Only a Matter of Elimination” by Robert J. Summers, pg. ?:
In his last two races, both over “Big Sandy,” as some horsemen call the Belmont oval, he has shown a new proclivity towards early speed.
26 May 1999, New York (NY) Times, pg. D5:
“That race track up there, they call it the Big Sandy,” the trainer ELLIOTT WALDEN said, referring to Belmont. “It can be a little loose, and I just want him to get a work over it.”
2 June 1999, New York (NY) Times, pg. D3:
“This track is a bit more cuppy; they call Belmont the Big Sandy,” Walden said.
Google Groups: alt.sport.horse-racing
Newsgroups: alt.sport.horse-racing
From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (DASBABY932)
Date: 2000/07/16
Subject: The slop at Belmont
I’m watching the Belmont card at Fox Sportsnet and so far (race 4) every horse out of the gate seems to want nothing more than to run their hearts out in the slop.  Traction?  Not a problem!  The Big Sandy is a big lake, and the horses are eating it up.  What’s up with that?  Maybe these animals have been training the heat and the mini-Sahara that Belmont’s main track becomes in mid-summer so the cooler temperatures and the downpour was like a vacation to them.  But I’ve seldom seen such happy running horses at Belmont before, win or lose.
20 July 2002, New York (NY) , pg. 48:
Today’s $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks is the distaff version of the Belmont Stakes: a Grade 1 race for 3-year-old fillies going once around Belmont Park’s mile-and-a-half “Big Sandy.”
7 June 2003, Washington (DC) Times, pg. C8:
With heavy rain predicted shortly before today’s 135th Belmont Stakes, the gelding figures to benefit from the slow going on the “Big Sandy.”
Google Groups: alt.sport.horse-racing
Newsgroups: alt.sport.horse-racing
From: Michael Napolitano

Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 10:20:24 GMT
Local: Mon, Aug 11 2003 6:20 am
Subject: Re:author’s melarkey
Tim:  The big sandy (Belmont Park) OFTEN produces days where there is a huge outside-closers bias.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Thursday, September 27, 2007 • Permalink

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