Belmont: No Triple Crown Winner But Renovated Track Is Coming

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New York State taxpayers are loaning NYRA $455 million to renovate the grounds.

There will be no Thoroughbred Racing Triple Crown Winner in 2023 but the industry got a huge boost from New York Governor Kathy Hochul in May. There will be a three-year renovation of the Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont as the state is loaning the New York Racing Association $455 million to be paid back over a 30-year period in an effort to revitalize the venue. Among the plans is the razing of the present grandstand and replacing it with a grandstand that is about 80 percent smaller in capacity. That is the trend in the industry as there is no need for a large venue when there are just a handful of people showing up on a daily basis. The Belmont Racetrack is losing money and even with a track renovation, sinking money into the facility probably won’t revive an industry that has been in a massive decline for decades. There are some races that still attract attention, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont along with the Breeders’ Cup. At one time, around 1950, the major sports in America were baseball, boxing and horse racing. Much of horse racing’s allure was gambling and the track was the place to go to make legal bets.

But Horse Racing’s huge following quickly faded after the 1950s as states began lotteries and betting was made easy. In the 1960s, there was a limited but growing form of legalized betting around, with state lotteries, off track betting and the availability of all forms of gambling in stores along with casinos sprouting up around the country. Gamblers’ have choices. A portion of the horse racing industry has been saved by casino gambling at tracks. That is not going to change anytime soon. Tracks have closed around the country and there is no novelty to horse racing anymore.

Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191

Evan can be reached at evan_weiner@hotmail.com

FILE – Jockey Calvin Borel gestures as he rides Rachel Alexandra to victory in the 134th running of the Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, May 16, 2009, (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)