The 2022 Belmont Park fall race meeting will temporarily move to Aqueduct Race Track in Queens next month as the first phase of a major renovation of the legendary Nassau site begins, the NYRA said.
The Belmont at the Big A fall meet runs from Thursday, Sept. 15, through Sunday, Oct. 30, and features 41 stakes worth $9.9 million in total purses.
“This investment in the future of Belmont Park will transform our racing operations and pave the way for a broader re-imagining of the facility,” Dave O’Rourke, president and CEO said in a statement. “The shift to Aqueduct this fall will minimize the overall impact on the racing schedule and ensure continuity for the Belmont spring/summer meet and Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.
He added, “We appreciate the patience of our horsemen and fans as we enter this period of transition at Belmont and look forward to an exciting fall at the Big A.”
Work includes the pony track, previously a dirt track, where synthetic turf will be installed in place of the original surface. Additionally, new fencing will be installed on the Plainfield Avenue border in Floral Park.
Vehicular and pedestrian tunnels will be constructed, which Pat McKenna of the NYRA says will unlock the 45-acre infield at Belmont Park, provide more access to fans and allow NYRA to consider a synthetic track in the future.
Following annual maintenance, Belmont’s training track will re-open Aug. 8 and remain open throughout construction.
The main track and turf training course will be closed from Sunday, Aug. 7, to the construction’s expected completion in 2023 before the Belmont Stakes, according to the National Racing Association.
Apart from the track, the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project has been continuing for a few years.
Last fall, the UBS Arena at Belmont Park opened up its doors and has been hosting home games for the New York Islanders, concerts and other events since. Alongside the arena, the plan includes a new hotel and 350,000 square feet of retail space in the future.
In November, the Elmont LIRR station became the first new LIRR station in almost 50 years to open for service as part of the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project. Currently, there is only eastbound travel, with westbound travel opening up later this year.