Corporate Name: The New York Racing Association, Inc.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 90, Jamaica, New York 11417
Street Address: 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont, New York 11003 (click for map)
Telephone: (516) 488-6000
Fax: (718) 659-3509
Belmont Park, one of Thoroughbred racing’s most famous venues, can trace its history back to 1895. It was in that year the Westchester Racing Association was formed and began conducting racing at old Morris Park in the Bronx. Soon, keeping in step with the Gilded Age of the coming 20th century, two of the Association’s key members – August Belmont, Jr. and former Secretary of the Navy William C. Whitney – headed a syndicate to find land on Long Island on which to build a larger, more elaborate race track.
In 1902, the syndicate settled on land in Nassau County, including a small portion extending into Queens County. Known for years as Foster’s Meadow – it had been purchased by Christopher and Thomas Foster in 1647 – the land had, since 1882, been known as Elmont. That name, selected over Farmer’s Valley and Belle Font, was chosen at a town meeting in order to establish a post office.
The syndicate sought to buy as much property as it could in Elmont, although it kept its purpose secret. Their mission was so secret, in fact, that in early 1902 the first people to sell their property to the syndicate thought they had sold it for the purpose of building a housing development or a cemetery. By September of that year, however, the true purpose was made known and the most beautiful of the more than 650 acres, the Tudor-Gothic Manice Mansion, known as “Oatlands,” was sold by New York attorney William De Forest Manice to the syndicate for $125,000.
By March 1903, a large force of engineers had begun work on the new track. The death of William C. Whitney in early 1904 delayed further work until March of that year. It was Whitney who had suggested one year earlier the new track be named Belmont Park in honour of his friend, August Belmont, Jr. Belmont Park opened on Thursday, May 4, 1905.
Belmont Park has played host to almost every major star in Thoroughbred racing during the last century and is firmly established as one of the world’s great sporting sites. At a mile and a half, it is the largest dirt track in North America and it, along with Aqueduct Racetrack and Saratoga Race Course, is operated by the New York Racing Association, Inc., which in 2008 earned the state franchise to operate these three tracks for another 25 years. Set on 445 acres of property, Belmont Park has been called the “Taj Mahal of American Racing.”
Belmont Park will run for 59 days during its 2015 spring/summer meet, April 29–July 19, and 38 days during its fall meet, September 11–November 1.
The centerpiece of the spring/summer meet is the three-day Belmont Stakes Festival, June 6–8, anchored by the 147th running of the Grade I $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, one of 10 stakes that day. Also that day are five other Grade I races: the $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap, the $1 million Manhattan, the $1 million Ogden Phipps, the $750,000 Acorn and the $700,000 Longines Just a Game.
Featuring six stakes, the Stars & Stripes Festival on July 4 is topped by two Grade I races on the turf: the $1.25 million Belmont Derby and the $1 million Belmont Oaks for fillies, both at 1¼ miles.
Belmont’s fall meet features major races, including the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup on October 3. New York Showcase Day, a salute to the New York thoroughbred breeding and racing program, will be held on October 24 and will be preceded in the spring by Big Apple Showcase Day on May 25
Officers: Christopher K. Kay, CEO & President; Joseph Lambert, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary; Lynn LaRocca, Senior Vice President & Chief Experience Officer; David O’Rourke, Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer; Martin Panza, Senior Vice President of Racing Operations; George C. Venizelos, Vice President of Security; Susanne Stover, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer; Glen Kozak, Vice President of Facilities & Racing Surfaces; Tom Thill, Vice President & Chief Information Officer; Stephen Travers, Senior Director, Hospitality, Guest Services & Group Sales; Pasquale Viscusi, J.D., L.L.M., Senior Director of Pari-Mutuels & Simulcasting Operations/Records Access Appeal Office; Iris Roberts, Records Access Officer; Jelena Alonso, Controller; Ross Didia, Corporate Treasurer; Min Kim, Director, Internal Audit
Racing Secretary: Dan Eidson
Director, Horsemen’s Relations: Carmen Barrera
Senior Director of TV: Dan Silver
Official Track Photographer: Adam Coglianese
Nearest City: Just outside New York City limits in Elmont (Nassau County); 13 miles from Times Square
Nearest Airport: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), approximately 13 miles from track
Track Data: 1½-mile oval, sandy loam, length of stretch, 1,097 feet; Widener Turf Course, 15/16 miles plus 27 feet with two chutes, 1 mile and 11/16 miles; Inner Turf Course, 13/16 miles plus 103 feet, with one chute 11/16 mile
Stable Accommodations: 2,200 horses, 865 personnel, recreation building and cafeteria
Total Acreage: 445
Seating Accommodations: Grandstand, 30,000; 21,500 seats under cover viewing the track; attendance capacity: 100,000
Price of Admission: Grandstand, $5; Clubhouse, $8, except Belmont Stakes Day
Dress Code: Grandstand: shoes and shirts required at all times; Clubhouse: proper attire required at management’s discretion; no short-shorts, cut-offs, or abbreviated wear permitted; gentlemen, no tank tops; Box Seats, Garden Terrace Restaurant: ladies, dresses, skirts, or slack outfits; gentlemen, suits or sports jackets preferred (required in Box Seat Area); absolutely no shorts or jeans
Minimum Age Admitted: Children under 12 admitted free only if under the supervision of a parent or guardian at all times
Parking Facilities: 91 acres (18,500 cars); Preferred, 1,500
Morning Programs: “Breakfast at Belmont” Program and schedules vary according to season