The Belmont Stakes Is Moving To Upstate New York In 2024


The Elmont, New York track is being renovated.

New York State is trying to prop up a failing industry, horse racing, by throwing $455 million into the renovation of the Belmont Park Racetrack on the New York City-Nassau County border. New York has been trying to revitalize the racetrack for years and gave up a piece of the land to the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders ownership to build an arena with shopping around the venue. Because of the Belmont Park reconstruction project, the Belmont Stakes is heading north to Saratoga Race Course in June and there is a good possibility that the Belmont will also take place in Saratoga in 2025. Saratoga features thoroughbred racing in the summer and is also an area where well-heeled people spend time during the summer. It is not known how many of them head to the track. Saratoga generally runs 40 days a year.

Belmont’s grandstand will be demolished and replaced with a much smaller building. There is no need for a big grandstand anymore as attendance at the track on a daily basis is paltry except for the running of the Belmont Stakes. Once the new building goes up, which is expected to be completed by 2026, and racing in Elmont resumes, the nearby Aqueduct Racetrack will be shuttered.  Aqueduct opened in 1894 and was part of the good old days of horse racing. In 1950, baseball, boxing and horse racing were the major sports in the United States. 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. Tracks have closed around the country and there is no novelty to horse racing anymore. But New York State taxpayers are throwing money into a dying business, horse racing.

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The plan is to shut down Aqueduct