Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Belmont Park to add 200 new stall spaces by May; many improvements slated for all three NYRA tracks

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sean Morris



Belmont Park to add 200 new stall spaces by May; many improvements slated for all three NYRA tracks


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - As a new year begins and live racing continues at Aqueduct Racetrack, a host of capital improvements are now underway at Belmont Park in preparation for the upcoming spring meet. Live racing returns to Belmont on Wednesday, April 29.

Recently approved by the New York Racing Association's Re-organization Board of Directors and totaling $36 million, the 2015 capital budget is funding a series of specific, long-term investments at Saratoga Race Course, Belmont, and Aqueduct. These investments include the installation of new security systems at all of the New York Racing Association's championship racing facilities, as well as new technological upgrades to the organization's customer service, simulcast, television and on-line platforms.

"Continuing the progress reflected by two years of targeted, long-term capital investments, we are continuing to transform the New York Racing Association for future growth and success," stated Christopher K. Kay, Chief Executive Officer and President of the New York Racing Association. "These investments will support our collective efforts to provide an enhanced guest experience, while further improving the quality of racing at our three championship thoroughbred tracks."

At Belmont Park, the Board-approved capital investments specifically support the construction of a new barn, as well as the expansion of a number of current barns on site. The creation of recently completed Barn 48 at Belmont, along with the expansion of Barns 1, 6, 10, 18, 19 and 24, are expected to add 200 stalls to Belmont by May. Another 50 stalls are expected to be added by the fall.  

"Our added stalls are a huge plus," said Glen Kozak, Vice President of Facilities and Racing Surfaces. "The New York Racing Association bears a tremendous cost to keep three tracks open for training, and we are fully confident we will be able to take on the increased capacity of horses at Belmont and Saratoga."

The new stalls will help accommodate horses displaced from Aqueduct in May, when training will be limited to Belmont and Saratoga Race Course until mid-October, and will also provide an opportunity for trainers to consolidate their horses into one barn.

"From a racing surface standpoint, Belmont is more than equipped to handle the influx of horses," said Martin Panza, Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. "Between the 1 ½-mile main track, the one-mile training track and the pony track, we can certainly accommodate the additional horses. Obviously, stall space will be at a premium when racing transitions from Aqueduct to Belmont, and we hope that will encourage trainers to participate in our enhanced Aqueduct spring meet [April 1-26]."

These investments are also supporting the construction of a new dormitory for backstretch workers. With projected completion set for October, the new dormitory will offer 47 double-occupancy rooms, each with its own restroom.

Construction of the new dorm at Belmont Park reflects the New York Racing Association's continued progress towards upgrading living conditions for backstretch workers. The new construction at Belmont further complements the recent completion of eight renovated dorms at Saratoga Race Course. Renovations for two other dorms at the Spa are scheduled for completion this spring, prior to the start of the summer meet.




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