Renderings Released For Revitalized Belmont Park Plan With Eyes On Fall 2026 Completion

Written By Grant Lucas on March 11, 2024
Rendering for Belmont Park, which will see demolition begin in March 2023 with plans to complete renovations and construction by 2026

Gov. Kathy Hochul revealed her plan to modernize and transform historic Belmont Park last week. The construction, which would result in a modern 275,000-foot grandstand, is projected to require $1 billion and could be completed by 2026.

According to the governor’s office, the Belmont Park project will lead to 3,700 jobs, $1 billion in construction-related and other economic revenue, and ultimately generate an additional $155 million in annual revenue related to New York horse racing.

“The redevelopment of Belmont Park is a critical investment in one of New York’s most historic sporting venues,” said Hochul in a statement.

“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.”

New grandstand constructions starts in January 2026

According to the announcement, demolition of the current Belmont Park grandstand and clubhouse will begin in March and continue into early July.

New construction will then start in early 2025. Construction on the new grandstand and adjacent building will begin in January 2026, with work completed that year in time for the fall race season.

The State of New York has authorized a $455 million loan to NYRA to assist in funding the ambitious plan. It’s anticipated that $10 million in local and state tax revenue will be generated from the upgrade to Belmont Park.

Hochul’s plan calls for a grandstand with “the modern amenities and hospitality offerings fans now expect.”

The plan to makeover Belmont Park is included in the governor’s initiative called “Improvements Facilitated by the Governor’s FY2024 Executive Budget Proposal to Bring Thousands of Jobs and Over $150 Million Annually in Economic Activity.”

Much-needed renovations ready to get underway at Belmont Park

Belmont, of course, hosts one of the three triple crown races, the Belmont Stakes, a 1 ½-mile race held annually in June. The prestigious race has been held 155 times since 1867, and almost every year at Belmont Park since it debuted in 1905.

That run will come to an end this year, however, as the Belmont Stakes will relocate to Saratoga Springs for the 2024 race, the first time the event will not take place at Belmont since 1967. This will allow for uninterrupted construction and renovations at Belmont Park.

“It’s a win for horse racing and for the Capital Region,” Hochul said at the time, “to have the excitement and the ability to host the four-day Festival in June at America’s most historic track. As I said during the 2023 Saratoga Meet, ‘Let’s do it.’”

With the relocation to Saratoga, some 200 miles away from Belmont, comes a shorter race. The Stakes will be trimmed to 1 ¼ miles to acclimate to Saratoga’s main track.

Belmont Park attracts in excess of 50,000 spectators for the Stakes every year. The event continued running there through 1962, when it was shuttered for the construction of new grandstands and tracks. It reopened under new ownership in 1968, with the largest grandstand (hosting 90,000) in thoroughbred racing in North America. That grandstand has seen little change in the 55 years-plus since.

Belmont Park is owned and operated by the New York Racing Association (NYRA), a nonprofit organization that also helms the other two prominent tracks in the state: Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park in Queens and Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs.

Photo by Populous
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

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