The New York Racing Association (NYRA) revealed that a synthetic inner track is coming to Belmont Park in Nassau County. Belmont Park is home to the famous US horse betting race, Belmont Stakes.
The “one-mile synthetic oval” will be located inside the inner turf course serving as the fourth Belmont racing surface. It will complement the existing main track and two turf courses.
A state regulatory board supervising NYRA approved a list of capital projects, including installing Belmont’s synthetic track. The New York State Franchise Oversight Board also approved the construction of new dorms at both Belmont and Saratoga. That also includes replacing the structure holding the saddling stalls at Saratoga Race Course.
This approval was necessary for NYRA’s project to move forward. NYRA expects the renovation to be complete by the spring of 2024.
Major US horse betting track Belmont Park long overdue for renovation
Belmont Park has been waiting for a renovation for a long time. The last renovations on the 117-year-old racetrack were in 1968. More than fifty years later, it’s finally happening again.
Glen Kozak, NYRA Senior Vice President, Operations and Capital Projects, said via release:
“NYRA has closely studied the evolution of synthetic surfaces in recent years, and the time is right to add this option for use during both training and racing. The new track represents an investment in the future of Belmont Park that will enhance equine safety, support field size during inclement weather and provide horsemen with another year-round training option.”
The project was also included in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s $455 million executive budget. As defined by the budget, NYRA would be expected to repay the state for the entire cost using funds dedicated to capital improvements.
The We Are New York Horse Racing coalition supported the NYRA last year in their efforts to renovate Belmont Park. The group recommended a bill to borrow $450 million through state-issued bonds to help the renovation. But the bill didn’t receive the proper support.
Thanks to this inclusion, the NYRA will finally see enhancements to one of New York’s oldest racetracks.
Adding synthetic track provided valuable knowledge to NYRA
In December, NYRA completed the installation of a Tapeta Footings synthetic surface at the Belmont Park pony track. The quarter-mile surface track is mainly for jogging horses and has been quite busy since its opening.
The new Belmont Park pony track has helped the association generate information and data on the performance of a synthetic surface. Especially in the overall climate and weather conditions encountered at Belmont Park.
Kozak concluded: “Working with the pony track this winter has provided us with invaluable, real-world knowledge around the art and science of properly maintaining synthetic surfaces. We look forward to applying our collective expertise to this transformational project at Belmont Park.”
Synthetic tracks are in use at several racetracks and are designed to minimize noise from behind the stalls.