Belmont Park revamp ready for 2026


Belmont Park update March 2024 Image: New York Racing Association and Populous

Renovations to Belmont Park racetrack in New York (US) are expected to be completed in 2026.

Long Island Business News said that New York Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled a construction timeline that includes the $455 million project being fully completed by fall of that year.

This could allow the Breeders’ Cup to return to the remade New York track as soon as 2026, if not long after.

The third leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown would be back from a two-year stint elsewhere with limited attendance and use of the newly opened infield space. Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in southern California is set to host each of the next two years.

Belmont Park update March 2024Image: New York Racing Association and Populous

The 100,000-capacity Belmont Park is a major thoroughbred horse racing facility in the Northeastern United States, located in Elmont, New York, just East of the New York City limits. It was opened on May 4th, 1905 and is operated by the non-profit New York Racing Association.

The NYRA plans to demolish Belmont Park, on Hempstead Turnpike, rebuild it from scratch and transform the racetrack into a Winterized facility complete with a new clubhouse and grandstand – all at no cost to the taxpayers.

The group plans to borrow the money from the State and pay it off over the span of 20 years through State-backed bonds.

Hochul said in statement, “The redevelopment of Belmont Park is a critical investment in one of New York’s most historic sporting venues. The new facility will support year-round racing, thousands of new jobs for Long Islanders and provide an enhanced experience for customers attending the iconic Belmont Stakes for generations to come.”

Belmont Park update March 2024Image: New York Racing Association and Populous

Breeders’ Cup officials in a 2022 letter to the NYRA expressed support for the project, while not committing to a year in which to hold the two-day international event at Belmont Park.

Belmont Park has four times hosted the Breeders’ Cup, in 1990, ‘95, 2001 and ’05. After the renovations, the 50,000-capacity track will be winterized and updated for everyday racing, with the ability to expand for big racing days like the Belmont Stakes.

NYRA board of directors chair Marc Holliday said, “The new Belmont Park will be a thoroughly modern racing and entertainment facility that will take its place on the global stage among iconic venues like Ascot, Longchamp and The Curragh.

“It is an honor to design and develop a venue that will appeal to racing enthusiasts and attract a new generation of fans.”

Belmont Park update March 2024Image: New York Racing Association and Populous

The Belmont Stakes is set to be held at Saratoga Racecourse in upstate New York the next two years while construction is ongoing.

All racing activity in the New York City area has been temporarily consolidated to Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, while training has continued at Belmont Park, including a synthetic pony track that can be used during inclement weather.

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