New York Racing Association has recently informed that innovations are being considered for the race track at Belmont Park. The initial plan reveals ideas to winterize the track and reduce the size of the grandstand and prevent it from casting a shadow on the track. The aim of the revamp is to make the venue more appealing and more attractive to the local communities.
The track’s last renovation was back in 1968, and despite the financial difficulties for the state, local government and the association believe the time has come to improve the facilities at the park. The venue is currently unable to host any events during the winter season due to the lack of proper conditions, and the plan for the much-needed renovations comes as great news.
Much Needed Overhaul
State Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages recently spoke on the matter, according to her the track is in desperate need of revamping. This is due to the facility’s inability to host winter events and the grandstand casting a shadow over the turf causing it to freeze during the winter days. Her suggestion is to transform the facility into the center of horse racing in southern New York as there is a proposal to turn Aqueduct Racetrack into a fully-fledged casino.
State Senator Todd Kaminsky supported the proposal but insisted that the revamping process is still in its discussion stage. The association must first present its plans to the Elmont community before the official decision on the matter. State Sen. Anna Kaplan has also voiced her backing for the renovation, but she believes the local community must be consulted first.
Previously industry officials have contacted the New York Racing Association about improving the venue by sending out a survey to fans in October 2019. Fans gave their opinion on whether renovations should be made to the track such as backyard picnic area, rooftop access, access to the infield on race days, a new social patio, and luxury suites.
Back in 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo greenlighted the plan for the creation of the Belmont Park Advisory Board consisting of representatives from the local communities. The legislation was proposed by Ms. Solages and Ms. Kaplan and its purpose was to establish an organization that will be able to hear the voice of the local residents. Additionally, the board is tasked with endorsing or rejecting projects for the tract at their twice-a-year meetings.
No Live Audiences
After the occurrence of the unprecedented situation in March 2020 and the followed closure of all business and social gatherings, race tracks were closed down as well. The New York Racing Association has assessed the then-situation and has expressed their desire for horse racing to return but without live spectators. This was in order to protect all horsepeople involved and allow the return of the races.
Additionally, the association had to make more tough decisions regarding the horse racing sport in the state as the organization had to reduce the number of live harness races at Aqueduct Racetrack and Belmont Park. This decision was aiming towards protecting purses money, protect the personnel involved, and still have a live racing season.
Source: Koenig, Melissa “NYRA officials consider renovations at Belmont Park”, Liherald, March 30, 2021