Hochul budget proposes $455M to redevelop Belmont Park

Hochul budget proposes $455M to redevelop Belmont Park
A sign at the entry to Belmont Park. (Photo from Google Maps)

The $227 billion budget proposal from Gov. Kathy Hochul for the 2024 fiscal year includes $455 million for redeveloping and renovating Belmont Park. 

If approved, the project will create new tracks, parking and a clubhouse.

Modernizing Belmont Park has been at the forefront of the 2023 legislative agenda for We Are N.Y. Horse Racing, a business and labor coalition that unveiled its plans in Albany in November. 

The Elmont racetrack was last renovated in 1968. 

The coalition of horse racing industry leaders has long been pushing the state to approve and back a $455 million bond. 

Officials said the bond would not use taxpayer money and be paid back with racing revenue over 30 years. The horse racing industry in New York generates $3 billion in annual economic activity while sustaining 19,000 jobs, according to the New York Racing Association. 

Improvements at the park could bring back the Breeders’ Cup to Long Island for the first time since 2005, officials have 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.

“Belmont Park stands at the center of the statewide racing ecosystem, and the project to reimagine the facility will create jobs, drive tourism to the region and secure the future of thoroughbred racing across the state,” NYRA President David O’Rourke said in a statement to casino.org. “The time is right to build a new Belmont Park for the benefit of New York State, and we look forward to working with our legislative partners to ensure the Governor’s proposal is enacted.”

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