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NY Governor Says New Belmont Park Will Be Ready In 2026

Written By J.R. Duren on March 6, 2024
Belmont Park Upgrade Rendering 1

One of horse racing’s most iconic tracks, and one of three tracks to host a Triple Crown, will look completely different in 2026.

That’s according to Gov. Kathy Hochul, who announced that Belmont Park’s scheduled renovation, will be complete in 2026. Hochul estimated that the overhaul will create 3,700 construction-related jobs and at least $1 billion in economic impact.

Details and renderings for Belmont Park’s renovation

The renovation will target three main areas of the legendary facility: the fan area, the barn, and the backstretch. It will be the first overhaul of the facilities in around 60 years.

Fan area upgrades

The state plans to tear down Belmont’s existing 1.25-million-square-foot fan area and replace it with a fan zone that’s about 20% of the area’s current size. The new facility will include multiple food service areas, various balconies, elevated box seating, chairback seating, track-view dining, and a rooftop terrace.

If all goes as planned, demolition of the existing grandstand will start this month. Though the new facility will be smaller than the existing one, the track’s 50,000-person capacity will not change.

Barn and backstretch upgrades

While the grandstand’s overhaul is fan-focused on Belmont’s racing, upgrades to the barn and backstretch will benefit horses, jockeys, trainers, and owners. Upgrades to this area will include, according to the governor’s statement:

  • Improvements to medical facilities
  • Installation of a new security system
  • Upgrades to the track’s gym
  • New flood mitigation strategies
  • Fence replacement along the backstretch
  • Exploration of building apartments for assistant trainers
Belmont Park Upgrade Rendering 2
Belmont Park Building Concept Image By NYRA / Populous

Renovations to the fan area, barn, and backstretch will bring much-needed life to what has been a struggling New York horse racing industry.

“The redevelopment of Belmont Park is a critical investment in one of New York’s most historic sporting venues,” NY Gov. Hochul said on the New York State website. “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.”

NYRA moves Belmont Stakes temporarily to Saratoga for 2024 and 2025

When construction commences at Belmont, it will be impossible to host any racing. The track’s marquee races, the Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup, will take place offsite.

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) will move the Belmont Stakes to Saratoga Race Course in 2024 and 2025. The race is scheduled to return to Belmont in 2026. Hochul noted that the NYRA has yet to finalize an alternate location for the Breeders’ Cup.

New York Racing Association (NYRA) CEO David O’Rourke said:

“The transformation of Belmont Park will secure the future of thoroughbred racing in New York State, create thousands of jobs, and drive tourism to Long Island and the region for decades to come. NYRA is committed to building a world-class destination that will set the global standard for a racing facility, and we thank Governor Hochul for the opportunity to completely re-imagine Belmont.”

Belmont Park Upgrade Rendering 3
Belmont Park Building Concept Image By NYRA / Populous

Additionally, racing at Aqueduct Park will move to Belmont Park once the renovations are complete. While racing may end at Aqueduct Park, development will not. The state plans to build a housing development where the track now sits.

Also, Resorts World, which operates a racino (casino-style gaming at a horse track) at the track, recently unveiled a $5 billion pitch to transform Resorts World NYC into a full-fledged casino.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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