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.

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Entry from June 09, 2016
Saratoga: Big Apple (New York racing circuit including the Saratoga Race Course)

The term “Big Apple” usually refers to the racetracks of New York City (and, by extension, the city itself), but the racetrack term sometimes includes the Saratoga Race Course at Saratoga Springs, New York. John J. Fitz Gerald’s “Around the Big Apple” column on February 18, 1924 in the New York (NY) Morning Telegraph included the graphic of an apple with New York City’s skyline and the words:

“The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There’s only one Big Apple. That’s New York.”

An article in The Saturday Evening Post in 1927, however, includes Saratoga:

“For one thing, I’m getting my chance at last for to do my stuff up there on the Big Apple; and, believe it, I am going to show the folks around Belmont and Aqueduct and Saratoga some race riding as really is race riding.”

A 1928 New York (NY) Morning Telegraph column titled “On the Big Apple” included articles from Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga.

A 1947 article titled “The Boys on the Big Apple” in Harper’s Bazaar was even more inclusive:

“But that’s when they are on ‘The Big Apple,’ which is the jockeys’ name for the circuit which includes the big and fashionable tracks — Belmont, Saratoga, Hialeah, Santa Anita, and a few others.”

“Big Apple” did not include Saratoga, Hialeah or Santa Anita in the book Fabulous Bawd; The Story of Saratoga (1952) by Mel Heimer:

“They follow the sun to Hialeah and Santa Anita in the winter and up through the Big Apple of the New York tracks in the summer, chasing the buck grimly and doggedly — and then they come for a month to Saratoga and they slow up a little and become, for a moment, the improvers of the breed.”


Wikipedia: Saratoga Race Course
Saratoga Race Course is a thoroughbred horse racing track in Saratoga Springs, New York, United States, with a capacity of 50,000. Opened in 1863, it is the third oldest racetrack in the US (after 2nd oldest Pleasanton Fairgrounds Racetrack & oldest Freehold Raceway), though it is often considered to be the oldest sporting venue of any kind in the country.

Google Books
The Saturday Evening Post
Volume 200
1927
Pg. 14:
For one thing, I’m getting my chance at last for to do my stuff up there on the Big Apple; and, believe it, I am going to show the folks around Belmont and Aqueduct and Saratoga some race riding as really is race riding.

15 June 1928, New York (NY) Morning Telegraph, pg. 18, col. 4:
On the Big Apple
ACTIVITIES AT ANCIENT AQUEDUCT
(A different sub-head was used for various other tracks, such as Belmont and even Saratoga. No authorship of the column was given.—ed.)

Google Books
Harper’s Bazaar
(1947)
Pg. 233:
THE BOYS ON THE BIG APPLE (Continued from page 235)
(...)
But that’s when they are on “The Big Apple,” which is the jockeys’ name for the circuit which includes the big and fashionable tracks — Belmont, Saratoga, Hialeah, Santa Anita, and a few others.

Google Books
Fabulous Bawd;
The Story of Saratoga

By Mel Heimer
New York, NY:  Holt
1952
Pg. 13:
They follow the sun to Hialeah and Santa Anita in the winter and up through the Big Apple of the New York tracks in the summer, chasing the buck grimly and doggedly — and then they come for a month to Saratoga and they slow up a little and become, for a moment, the improvers of the breed.

Old Fulton New York Post Cards
20 December 1954, The Times Record (Troy, NY), pg. 28, col. 3:
Racing Commission Urges
State To Cut Mutuel ‘Bite

New York (AP)—The State Racing Commission conceded yesterday that Hollywood and Santa Anita in California had succeeded New York tracks as “the big apple” in purse distribution, and again recommended a reduction in the 15 per cent tax take-out in the parimutuel betting.
(...)
Attendance at Belmont, Jamaica, Saratoga and Aqueduct was 4,395,646 and betting totalled $363,306,510.

mReplay
Perry Mason - The Case of the Jilted Jockey (television air date: November 15, 1958)
Transcript
(...)
00:30:43 Do you know what a trainer has to do to get a horse like bright magic?
00:30:47 It starts out at the fairs.
00:30:49 $200 Claimers—lame, riddled, wind-broken.
00:30:53 Then you woryourself up, but you don’t find a horse like bright magic.
00:30:58 Oh, no, they don’t run at the half-milers.
00:31:00 You have to sort of graduate—move up to the mile tracks.
00:31:05 Then to the big apple.
00:31:07 Big apple?
00:31:08 Yeah, saratoga, belmont.
00:31:09 You know, the equivalent of santa anita and hollywood park out here.
00:31:14 And then you work and slave and pray and hope that you’ll find a horse like bright magic.

Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesNew York State • Thursday, June 09, 2016 • Permalink