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26-Feb-2020 05:28

A small crowd of racehorse owners and their families gather in the paddock below the stands.Bottle blondes, here for the first time this season, wearing seven-inch platform heels and stretchy pastel dresses, shiver next to their balding husbands in the unseasonable April chill.“Up there, you can control your own destiny.” But he never could quite get the flying job he wanted, and couldn’t shake the suspicion it was because he was a black pilot in a white industry.Grant resigned himself to a life working on the ground.A racing judge, Taylor has worked at Aqueduct since 1964.“I’ve been here since before they people like us here,” he says to Grant, referring to black Americans.Few notice the seven-year-old whose odds for winning the 0,000 purse, against the four- and five-year-old favorites, are listed at 54-1.

He watches the horses move in a circle around the crowd as the jockeys hoist themselves up onto their saddles.But it will be the Carter Handicap – the race just preceding the main event – that provides the most excitement today.Green Gratto, an unusually large thoroughbred, enters the paddock.But Gaston Grant, a Jamaica-born New Yorker who trains his horse every morning before going to his day job as a driver for UPS, believes that Green Gratto has what it takes to win. When asked about why the brothers entered Green Gratto in such a challenging race, he turns his palms up to the sky, smiles, and says, “You never know what can happen.” Men in baseball caps and workman’s boots press against the rails of the grandstands, flicking cigarette butts and clutching folded-up racing programs in their free hands.The stands are built for over forty thousand, but these days races typically draw fewer than two thousand.

He watches the horses move in a circle around the crowd as the jockeys hoist themselves up onto their saddles.But it will be the Carter Handicap – the race just preceding the main event – that provides the most excitement today.Green Gratto, an unusually large thoroughbred, enters the paddock.But Gaston Grant, a Jamaica-born New Yorker who trains his horse every morning before going to his day job as a driver for UPS, believes that Green Gratto has what it takes to win. When asked about why the brothers entered Green Gratto in such a challenging race, he turns his palms up to the sky, smiles, and says, “You never know what can happen.” Men in baseball caps and workman’s boots press against the rails of the grandstands, flicking cigarette butts and clutching folded-up racing programs in their free hands.The stands are built for over forty thousand, but these days races typically draw fewer than two thousand.Leaning in close as though telling him a secret, he adds: “But I stayed.” Those who remember the track at its peak tell stories of packed, chandeliered dining rooms, rich Manhattanites, and celebrity sightings.