The state budget will give the New York Racing Association the go-ahead to use a $455 million loan to renovate and upgrade Belmont Park, a move supporters have argued will aid the thoroughbred horse racing industry statewide.
“The transformation of Belmont Park will secure the future of thoroughbred racing in New York State, create thousands of good jobs and drive tourism to Long Island and the region for decades to come,” said NYRA President and CEO
IN MAY 1999, the New York Times fretted that Belmont Park, once a premier destination for horse racing, had drawn precious few fans for its opening day. The crowd of 7,526 left the grandstand “empty and cavernous,” the Times reported.
That turnout would have made the place seem positively abuzz compared to opening day at Belmont last Thursday, when a total of 2,120 fans paid the $5 admission fee.
An industry-funded study predicts that the new grandstand will attract 350,000 new fans per year, nearly doubling current attendance.
Lawmakers thanked the racing association, which, according to public data, spent over $50,000 every month since January on lobbying in Albany.
*Previously: The Buffalo Bills are on course to receive more than $1 billion public funds for a new stadium