$455M loan for new Belmont Park included in state budget

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$455M loan for new Belmont Park included in state budget
A $455M loan for a new Belmont Park was secured in the New York state budget on May 2. (Photo courtesy of Belmont Park)

A $455 million loan to redevelop and renovate Belmont Park was included in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s $229 billion state budget, which was approved by state lawmakers Tuesday night.

Belmont Park will be demolished and rebuilt from scratch as part of the project that will create new tracks, parking and a clubhouse, among other things.

“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,” New York Racing Association President CEO David O’Rourke said in a statement. “We thank Gov. Hochul and our legislative leaders for recognizing the importance of this project to the countless New York families and small businesses reliant on a strong horse racing economy.”

The Elmont racetrack was last renovated in 1968. 

No taxpayer money will be used in the bond, which will be paid back with racing revenue over 30 years, according to NYRA. The horse racing industry in New York generates $3 billion in annual economic activity while sustaining 19,000 jobs, according to NYRA. 

The multi-year project will generate $1 billion in construction-related economic impact and create 3,7000 construction-related jobs, according to an analysis done by HR&A advisors.

Once completed, Belmont Park will generate $155 million in annual economic output, support 740 full-time jobs and produce $10 million in state and local tax revenue annually, according to NYRA.

Improvements at the park will “guarantee the return” of the Breeders’ Cup to Long Island for the first time since 2005, the NYRA said. The cup would be an additional marquee event on the horse racing calendar, which includes the Belmont Stakes, the third leg in the Triple Crown competition along with the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in Maryland.

NYRA attempted to get similar financial support in the 2022 budget with a $450 million bond but was unsuccessful. NYRA’s previous efforts to obtain funding for a new grandstand and track improvements also failed.

“NYRA is committed to building a world-class venue that honors the history and traditions of this iconic property within a modernized overall facility,” O’Rourke said. “We will deliver a revitalized Belmont Park that will reclaim its place as a global capital of thoroughbred horse racing.”

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