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Thoughts, news and notes from the sports staff of The Saratogian newspaper, located in historic Saratoga Springs, New York. The gang in the corner office on Lake Avenue give you the post-game wrap-ups, news and notes from the games we cover and opinions about the sports we read about every day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

NYRA sends advice to fans attending Belmont Stakes

American Pharoah breezes at Churchill Downs May 26 with Martin Garcia aboard.
After horror stories from fans stuck stuck in vehicles or public transportation during last year's Belmont Stakes, NYRA has capped attendance for the 2015 Belmont Stakes Day to 90,000. Tickets are still available. Here are some suggestions from NYRA to those who plan to watch American Pharoah go for the Triple Crown in person June 6:

Fans are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and build significant time into their travels to and from Belmont Park, particularly on Belmont Stakes Day. Significant delays should be anticipated accessing and exiting the property, with fans encouraged to arrive early and stay late.

This year and for the first time, paid attendance for Belmont Stakes Day will be capped at 90,000. New York Racing Association officials anticipate that all available tickets will be sold out prior to June 6. With this in mind, all fans are strongly encouraged to purchase admission in advance by visiting, or calling 1-800-745-3000.  As of today, nearly 75 percent of all available tickets for Belmont Stakes Day have already been sold. 

Fans utilizing public transportation to and from Belmont Park are urged to purchase round-trip tickets in order to further expedite their travels. Long Island Railroad customers can easily access schedule and fare information by visiting or obtain real-time information by following @LIRR on Twitter. 

Updated event and transportation information will be posted on, with fans also able to access real-time updates on Twitter by following @BelmontStakes.

Among the many changes implemented for guests attending the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6 include: 

  • New LIRR improvements: Public transportation access to Belmont Park will be enhanced through $5 million in combined investment by the New York Racing Association and the Long Island Rail Road. This will result in a fully refurbished transit rotunda on the west end of the Grandstand, as well as new rail station platforms, which will increase Belmont Station train capacity from eight to 10 cars. The LIRR has also designed a new travel plan that will enable it to move trains in and out of Belmont Station faster than ever before. Still, customers are advised that they may have to wait up to 90 minutes to board trains at the end of the day when tens of thousands converge on the station all at once. 
  • New parking configurations:  All Belmont parking lots have been reconfigured to allow vehicles to more readily access designated exits.
  • New shuttle bus routes:  Utilizing newly designed routes, guests parking in outlying Belmont parking lots (Pink, Yellow, Blue, and Green) will be shuttled by bus to three specific drop-off points: the main Clubhouse entrance, the main Paddock gate and the west Paddock gate. Shuttles will pick up guests from and drop guests off at clearly identified points in each lot.

  • New pedestrian walkways:  New, controlled-access pedestrian walkways will be delineated to further improve the flow of pedestrians between the Clubhouse and the Yellow parking lots on the south side of Hempstead Turnpike, as well as between the Clubhouse and the Green and Blue parking lots, located north of the main track. 

  • New property maps:  All guests arriving in Belmont lots will be provided with a new facility map clearly identifying all exit points, and further outlining important information for traversing the Belmont property. This map can also be accessed by visiting

  • New entrance procedures:  To further improve the flow of guests entering and exiting the Belmont property, all turnstiles have been removed from access points to the Grandstand and Backyard, including for the stadium's western entrance directly leading to the newly constructed Long Island Railroad station.  All tickets will be checked and digitally scanned to allow for smoother pedestrian flow.

  • New post-race concerts:  For the first time, the New York Racing Association will host post-race concerts which are expected to further stagger the exit from the Belmont property. Included with admission for Friday, June 5 is a post-race concert led by platinum-selling recording artists O.A.R.  The following day, a special post-race concert will be led by multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated recording artists GOO GOO DOLLS. 
On Belmont Stakes Day and in an effort to remove cars from local roadways, while further serving fans residing in the neighboring communities of Elmont and Floral Park, the New York Racing Association has arranged for courtesy bus shuttles to operate between the Belmont Park Clubhouse entrance and these two communities on Belmont Stakes Day. These neighborhood bus shuttles will operate approximately every 20 minutes between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. on the following schedules:
  • The Floral Park Shuttle will travel from Belmont Park north on Plainfield Avenue, west on Woodbine Court, with a scheduled stop at Atlantic Avenue Extension and Tulip Avenue, adjacent to Lion's Park.  It will then travel north on Tulip Avenue to Jericho Turnpike and head east, making a second stop at the Nassau County bus stop in front of 90 Jericho Turnpike.  The bus will continue east on Jericho Turnpike and make its third and final stop at the Nassau County bus stop at Floral Park Place and Floral Terrace.  The bus will then return to Belmont Park.

  • The Elmont Shuttle will travel from Belmont Park south on Plainfield Avenue across Hempstead Turnpike and on to Elmont Road. It will then turn east at Dutch Broadway, north on Meacham Avenue and across Hempstead Turnpike to continue on Covert Avenue.  At Tulip Avenue, the bus will turn west and return to Belmont Park. The courtesy shuttles will stop at each of the Nassau County bus stops along the route.
New security protocols have also been implemented for this year, with all fans subject to enhanced screening prior to entering the Belmont property. Guests attempting to enter the Clubhouse, Grandstand or the Backyard with prohibited items will be asked to return those items to their vehicles or dispose of them.  No storage will be provided for guests arriving with, or attempting to enter with prohibited items. A full list of prohibited and permitted items is available at

"The safety of our guests, our equine athletes, our horsemen and horsewomen and all of our employees is the top priority of the New York Racing Association," stated George Venizelos, Vice President of Security. "To that end, we continue working closely and collaboratively with our partners at the local, state and federal level to keep our guests safe and on the move throughout this mega event."


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