Posted: Sept. 19, 2019
Following consultation with the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and approval of the New York State Gaming Commission, the New York Racing Association Sept. 19 announced that the 37-day Belmont Park fall meet will be held in its entirety at Belmont Park.
On July 10 NYRA announced plans to conduct a portion of the 2019 fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack from Oct. 11-27 to ensure the continuity of racing operations in New York and best serve the interests of horsemen in light of the planned construction of a new arena at Belmont for the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders.
However, with the current construction site preparation proving less impactful to racing operations than expected, NYRA, with the support of NYTHA and its members, will host the full fall meet at Belmont Park.
“We’re pleased to be able to offer the entirety of the Belmont fall schedule at the facility where these races were meant to be run,” NYRA Chief Executive Officer and President Dave O’Rourke said. “This decision follows careful analysis of the nature of construction site activity and a series of productive meetings with horsemen.”
Beginning Sept. 25, live racing on weekdays at Belmont will adjust from the current 3 p.m. post time to a 1 p.m. first post. Saturdays and Sundays will continue to feature a first post of 1 p.m. with entry gates open to the public at 11 a.m. To account for live racing on Columbus Day, Oct. 14, that week will feature a Thursday-through- Monday schedule from Oct. 10-14.
“NYTHA commends NYRA’s flexibility in deciding to run the complete fall meet at Belmont Park and return to the traditional post time,” NYTHA President Joe Appelbaum said. “This is an example of a deliberative process that was informed by direct communication between NYRA management and our trainers to get the right outcome for all parties.”
The Belmont Café will open for simulcasting on live race days at 11 a.m., Wednesday through Sunday, as well as Oct. 14, and will close for the remainder of 2019 on October 27.
The lucrative 37-day Belmont fall meet, highlighted by seven Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events along with 45 stakes worth $11.525 million in purse money, began Sept. 6.
Vehicle access to Belmont will continue to be available only through Gate 5 off Hempstead Turnpike and Gate 8 off Plainfield Avenue. Direct access from the Cross Island Parkway to Belmont is no longer available.
During the fall meet, patrons will have access to the first floor of the grandstand along with the first and second floors of the clubhouse. The Belmont Room and Top of The Stretch hospitality areas will remain open on live race days through Oct. 27.
The Aqueduct fall meet will run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1 and include 22 race days before the opening of the Aqueduct winter meet on Dec. 5.
(Belmont Park photo courtesy of Francesa LeDonne/NYRA)