Belmont Park Renovation Project on Track for 2026 Completion

profile image of Dave Grendzynski
Tapit Shoes with Jose Ortiz up (R), Tapit Trice with Luis Saez up (C), and Arcangelo with Javier Castellano up (L) leave the starting gate during the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 10, 2023 in Elmont, New York. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

Belmont Park, one of the most historic and prestigious venues in horse racing, is undergoing a major transformation that will be completed by 2026. Let’s go through the main points behind this renovation and how it may impact the online sportsbooks industry.

Racing Renaissance

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) is overseeing the construction of a new, modernized grandstand that will feature state-of-the-art amenities and hospitality offerings for fans and jockeys alike.

“The redevelopment of Belmont Park is a critical investment in one of New York’s most historic sporting venues,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “The new facility will support year-round racing, thousands of new jobs for Long Islanders, and provide an enhanced experience for customers attending the iconic Belmont Stakes for generations to come.”

Hochul approved the project last year. It will cost $455 million and generate $1 billion in economic impact and 3,700 jobs during the construction phase.

Once the new Belmont Park is operational, it will produce $155 million in annual economic output and $10 million in new tax revenue for the state and local governments.

What Is Changing at Belmont?

The new grandstand will still seat roughly 50,000 spectators with improved sightlines and seating options. Dining areas and betting facilities will also be upgraded.

The new 275,000-square-foot building will have a sleek design and a sweeping canopy that will provide shade and protect fans from the elements.

Other changes being brought forth by the renovation, include:

  • A new synthetic surface track will allow for year-round racing at Belmont Park.
  • The infield will also be landscaped and redesigned to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the venue.
  • Improvements to the on-site medical facility.

NYRA will also make further investments to improve the quality of life in the backstretch community, including:

  • Installing a new security system with blue lights.
  • Renovating the Recreation Hall and the Track Kitchen.
  • Flood prevention.
  • Improving the track’s Wi-Fi.
  • Replacing fencing throughout the backstretch.
  • Building places to store bicycles.
  • Helping assistant trainers by subsidizing small apartments.

So, Belmont will have a completely different look when the work is finally finished.

What About the Triple Crown?

Once construction begins at Belmont, hosting any racing will become impossible. The track’s flagship events, the Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup, will be relocated offsite.

The Belmont Stakes, the final and longest leg of the Triple Crown, will be held at Saratoga Race Course in 2024 for the first time in its 156-year history. This will allow for uninterrupted construction at Belmont. It will also be run there in 2025.

The race will return to Belmont Park in June 2026, before the full opening of the new building, which is scheduled for September 2026.

Breeders Cup Also Moving

The Breeders’ Cup is one of the most prestigious and lucrative events in horse racing, featuring the best horses from around the world competing in 14 races over two days. It will also need a new home while the renovations are complete, but Hochul pointed out that the NYRA has not yet settled on an alternative venue for the Breeders’ Cup.

The new Belmont Park is expected to be ready to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 2026.

Racing at Aqueduct Park Will End

Racing currently held at Aqueduct Park will shift to Belmont Park upon the completion of renovations.

Although racing activities at Aqueduct Park may cease, development plans are already in the works. The state intends to repurpose the site by constructing a housing development in place of the track.

Belmont Park: The Future of Horse Racing

The new Belmont Park will be a world-class sports and entertainment destination that will honor the rich history and tradition of the venue while providing a modern and enhanced experience for the fans, horsemen and the community. It will be a source of pride and excitement for New York and the entire horse racing industry.