I grew up about 15 minutes down Hempstead Turnpike (for those who know the area) from Belmont Park. So I know the area well…and know how bad traffic can be on raceday.
So I was happy to see that horse racing fans who want to watch the races at Belmot won’t have to own a horse to get there: they can take the LIRR (as we call it).
The New York Racing Association announced that it will subsidize the cost of running passengers to the LIRR’s Belmont station for the track’s spring/summer season, which opens this Friday and closes July 17.
The LIRR eliminated the Belmont stop last year to save money.
No more than 150 passengers a day took the train to the track and the LIRR lost $150,000 a year stopping there for the spring and fall racing meets.
NYRA spokesman Dan Silver said, “Hopefully increased attendance will result in additional admission and wagering revenue.”
It remains unclear if the service will be offered in September and October when Belmont reopens for two months.
Silver declined to say how much that cost NYRA, but he noted that attendance at Aqueduct was up 50% in January over the same month last year.
Belmont attendance dropped to 418,000 last year, the lowest in a decade.
But for me, besides the convenience…and nearness to my family home, it was always a great place to see a race.