NYRA Plans To Install Synthetic Course At Belmont, Construct New Residential Buildings At Belmont, Saratoga - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

NYRA Plans To Install Synthetic Course At Belmont, Construct New Residential Buildings At Belmont, Saratoga

Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has announced plans to install a synthetic track at Belmont Park. The one-mile synthetic oval will be located to the inside of the inner turf course and will serve as the fourth Belmont racing surface to complement the existing main track and two turf courses. NYRA has also announced a commitment to construct new residential buildings at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course designed to provide additional housing options for the backstretch community.

These projects, among others, are part of NYRA's FY2023 capital budget, which was approved Wednesday by the New York State Franchise Oversight Board.

The recent completion of a vehicular tunnel accessing the 45-acre Belmont Park infield will allow for construction of the synthetic track and renovation of the inner turf course to begin following the conclusion of the 2023 Belmont Park spring/summer meet in July.

These capital improvement projects will arrive as part of NYRA's ongoing campaign to modernize Belmont Park, which will include the complete renovation of all racing surfaces and the construction of new irrigation ponds among other improvements.

“NYRA has closely studied the evolution of synthetic surfaces in recent years, and the time is right to add this option for use during both training and racing,” said Glen Kozak, NYRA Senior Vice President, Operations and Capital Projects. “The new track represents an investment in the future of Belmont Park that will enhance equine safety, support field size during inclement weather and provide horsemen with another year-round training option.”

In December, NYRA completed installation of a Tapeta Footings synthetic surface at the Belmont Park pony track. Located just to the northeast of the Belmont Training Track, the quarter-mile pony track is primarily utilized for jogging horses and has been heavily used since its opening. Importantly, the new Belmont Park pony track has yielded a wealth of information and data on the performance of a synthetic surface in overall climate and weather conditions encountered at Belmont Park.

“Working with the pony track this winter has provided us with invaluable, real-world knowledge around the art and science of properly maintaining synthetic surfaces,” added Kozak. “We look forward to applying our collective expertise to this transformational project at Belmont Park.”

NYRA expects the renovation of the inner turf and construction of the new synthetic track to be complete by spring of 2024.

The residential building projects build on NYRA's multi-year, $40 million campaign to modernize and improve backstretch housing and facilities at Belmont and Saratoga.

“These major capital improvements will reflect NYRA's unwavering commitment to the backstretch community in New York,” said NYRA President & CEO David O'Rourke. “That is why we will continue to devote the resources, time, and attention necessary to construct more new housing in the next three years than at any point in NYRA's history.”

Following design review and approval from the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, NYRA will construct a residence adjacent to the lowlands on the Oklahoma Training Track side of Saratoga Race Course. Use of the Oklahoma as a training center and base of operations has grown significantly in recent years, which necessitated the complete renovation of the facility in 2021. The new building will transform the housing stock available to the backstretch community working at the Oklahoma Training Track.

In addition to the construction of this new residence, NYRA will continue to renovate and modernize existing housing on both the Oklahoma and main track sides of Saratoga Race Course this year and in the future, with new dormitory construction planned for Saratoga in both 2024 and 2025.

When complete, these new residences will represent the most significant upgrade to backstretch housing in the history of Saratoga Race Course.

At Belmont Park, NYRA will construct a new residence to provide updated housing for the 1,000 people living and working at Belmont throughout the year. The NYRA backstretch improvement campaign has resulted in the construction of two new dormitories at Belmont since 2016 along with the renovation of the majority of the existing housing at Belmont.

NYRA will commence substantial work on these two new residential buildings in the fall of 2023 with construction to be completed in 2024.

Paulick Report Icon

Receive daily headlines, breaking news alerts, promotions, and much more!

Become An Insider

Support our journalism and access bonus content on our Patreon stream

Learn More