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New York announces $1bn Belmont Park racetrack renovation plans

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New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced plans to transform the historic Belmont Park Racecourse for $1bn.

In 2026, the project will be completed, including the construction of an entirely new grandstand. The building will be ready in 2026. Most of the work is expected to be completed during the first three months of the year.

The Governor Hochul stated that the grandstand, which is 275,000 square feet in size, will provide “the amenities and hospitality options fans expect today”. The New York Racing Association, which is responsible for overseeing construction has released several renderings in advance of the start of work.

Belmont Park has been transformed into new renderings.

In March, demolition work on the existing Belmont Park clubhouse/grandstand is scheduled to start. It will last until early July. The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival this summer will take place at Saratoga in order to maintain uninterrupted construction work at Belmont Park.

New York officials said that the project, which will last for several years, would generate $1bn of construction related economic benefits. It is also expected to create 3,700 jobs in the construction industry. New York is providing a loan of $455 million to the NYRA for the funding of the project. The new track will produce $155 million in economic output annually after racing resumes in 2026. The new facility will generate $10m per year in state and local taxes.

Hochul stated that the redevelopment is an important investment for one of New York’s oldest sporting venues. The new facility is expected to support racing all year round, create thousands of jobs on Long Island and enhance the experience for Belmont Stakes attendees for future generations.

A view of the transformed Belmont Park

Breeders’ Cup to be held at Belmont Park

NYRA developed a plan to allow the Belmont Stakes return to June 2026 before the building is fully opened in September 2026. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 2026 have not yet been determined. However, the new Belmont Park is ready and complete to host the Breeders’ Cup 2026 if the opportunity should arise. Breeders’ Cup announced that it will add Belmont Park to its list as a host venue following NYRA’s renovation of the facility.

Populous is designing a new grandstand that will provide more unstructured space for fans. The building’s footprint has been reduced to 1.25m sq ft.

The layout of the facility has changed to allow for seasonal changes in attendance.

NYRA President and CEO David O’Rourke stated: “The transformation at Belmont Park will ensure the future of thoroughbred race racing.” The project will generate thousands of new jobs, and boost tourism in Long Island for many decades. NYRA has committed itself to creating a destination of world-class standards that will be the benchmark for racing facilities around the globe. “We thank Governor Hochul and his team for giving us the chance to completely reinvent Belmont.

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