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Capital Improvements Await Guests

On March 5, New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) CEO and President Chris Kay outlined a series of enhancements at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack designed to improve the on-track guest experience at all three facilities.  The improvements are applauded by Village of Floral Park officials.

“We see this as another example that President Kay, and the NYRA Board members are serious in their efforts to maintain Belmont as a premier thoroughbred racing and wagering facility,” said Floral Park Trustee and village Belmont committee chairman Jim Rhatigan.

The guest-experience-related enhancements were identified based on feedback from guests as well as internal assessments of each facility. The vast majority of the improvements will have been completed prior to the opening day of each racetrack. Belmont’s opening day is Thursday, May 1.

“We want our guests to have a great experience when they visit any of our three racing venues,” said Kay. “The actions we are taking are intended to improve that experience for all of our loyal fans and bettors.”

The guest-focused capital improvements at Belmont includes:

Belmont Park: New high definition (HD) televisions will be installed throughout all four levels of the facility prior to Belmont’s 2014 opening day. New HD screens (or self-service wagering terminals) will also be installed in second-floor box seats for improved viewing of live and simulcast racing. Including the 524 new HD televisions that have been added in the last few years, a total of 655 new HD TVs will have been installed.

Belmont Café: This dining and wagering area, open all year, on the first floor of the clubhouse will be modernized with new tables and chairs.

Backyard music stage: The popular backyard area will feature a new stage for concerts and other events during live race meets.

Paddock concession stand: A new concession stand will be constructed adjacent to Belmont’s world-renowned paddock offering food and beverages and a patio seating area.

Paddock video board: A new 8’ by 15’ video display wall will be installed by the paddock walking ring offering guests throughout the paddock area enhanced, HD picture quality.

In addition to the capital improvements set for Belmont, NYRA announced on Feb. 7 that the Belmont Stakes Day is is now the second-richest day in horse racing in the United States, with purses totalling more than $8 million and feature 10 stakes races.  

Rhatigan said, “A review of NYRA’s press release announcing the significant increases to Belmont Stakes and related races, makes us all the more excited toward the upcoming spring/summer season at Belmont.”

The 13-race Belmont Stakes Day card serves as the centerpiece of a new three-day “Belmont Stakes Festival” that will offer a wide array of special hospitality and entertainment options. The 10 Saturday stakes will be worth an aggregate $7.7 million. In 2013, Belmont Stakes Day included six events worth $2.95 million. “We’ve put together the finest day of racing in Belmont Stakes history,” said Kay. “We want every serious and casual fan in the area to come out on June 7 and experience the excitement and fun of one of New York’s truly signature sporting events.” Also scheduled as part of the 13-race Belmont Stakes Day card are three overnight allowance events - two on dirt, one on turf - offering a total of $300,000 in purses.

“We see this transition from ‘Belmont Day’ to the three day ‘Belmont Stakes Festival’ as a win-win for both Belmont and the surrounding communities,” Rhatigan concluded.