Belmont Park Spring/Summer Meet Opens April 26; 145th Belmont Stakes Set for June 8
By Ashley Herriman | 04/20/2013 05:54 PM ET
With world-class thoroughbred racing and a host of new activities and old favorites planned for the spring and summer, Belmont Park is the place to be starting opening day, Friday, April 26.
The 145th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 8, is the glittering centerpiece of Belmont Park’s 56-day spring/summer meet, which runs through July 14. The oldest and longest leg of racing’s elusive Triple Crown, the 1 ½-mile Belmont will be supported by four additional graded stakes.
The Belmont Stakes Festival begins on Saturday, June 1, with Elmont’s Belmont Stakes Parade kicking off a week of community events that includes the Belmont Stakes Blue Ribbon Run for Prostate Cancer on June 2, a special Triple Crown Q&A with renowned New York jockeys Ramon Dominguez and Richard Migliore on the evening of June 4 at the Elmont Library, the Garden City Belmont Festival on June 7 and the Floral Park Belmont Festival on June 9.
NYRA will give away a magnetized version of the Belmont spring/summer stakes schedule on Saturday, April 27, and host the first of 11 Family Fun Days presented by Coca-Cola on Sunday, April 28. The 84th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Westchester kicks off the exciting stakes action that Saturday. A traditional prep for the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on Memorial Day, the Westchester is the first of Belmont’s 26 graded stakes worth $8.1 million.
On Sunday, May 5, NYRA will host a Cinco de Mayo party in the backyard featuring Mariachi Loco de NY. Saturday, May 11 marks the beginning of an indoor farmers’ market at Belmont which will be held weekly on Saturdays throughout the meet (except Belmont Stakes Day) on the first floor of the Grandstand.
Memorial Day weekend signals the start of the Grade 1 season with a trio of top races on May 27: the $750,000 Met Mile, the $400,000 Ogden Phipps for fillies and mares, and the $300,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies. Rounding out the graded stakes action is the Grade 2, $300,000 Sands Point for 3-year-old turf fillies.
In addition to world-class racing, Belmont Park will host its first ever Food Truck Festival
on Saturday, May 25. Fans will be able to purchase diverse and delectable items from 10 of New York’s finest food trucks, including MacTruckNYC, TacoBite, Chinese Mirch, and more. The backyard will be home to Family Fun Days on Sunday and Monday, with the Memorial Day edition featuring games and races, inflatable gladiator joust, and a petting zoo.
“Party at the Park” returns for five Fridays beginning June 14 with a special first race post time of 3 p.m. and a party that includes food and drink specials along with a live concert following the conclusion of live racing. Billy Joel tribute band Michael DelGuidice and Big Shot kicks off the action on June 14, followed by Bon Jovi tribute band Bad Medicine on June 21 and 80s tribute band Decadia on June 28. Noche de Latina is set for July 5 featuring New York Latin rock band Seguida, while The LP’s will close out the “Party at the Park” series on July 12.
From start to finish, family activities abound, including the popular “Breakfast at Belmont” program weekend mornings from 7 – 9:30 a.m. and Family Fun Days on Sundays, presented by Coca-Cola, except for Belmont Stakes weekend.
The Long Island Rail Road’s “Belmont Special” will run from Penn Station to Belmont Park at 10:58 a.m. and 11:41 a.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and 10:58 a.m. and 11:50 a.m. on weekends and holidays, effective April 27 through May 13. Return service will be approximately 30 minutes after the last race, with an additional train at 3:42 p.m. weekdays and 4:27 p.m. weekends, effective April 26 through May 19.
First race post time is 12:50 p.m. from April 26-28. Beginning May 1, post time moves to 1:05 p.m. except for “Party at the Park” (3 p.m.) and Belmont Stakes Day (11:35 am). Live racing is generally conducted Wednesday through Sunday. Belmont Park will be open on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, with no live racing on Tuesday and Wednesday that week. Belmont Park will also be closed for live racing on Sunday, June 9, and Wednesday, July 10.
Except for Belmont Stakes Day, general grandstand admission and admission to the Belmont Café simulcast area is $3, clubhouse admission is $5, and general parking is free.