Belmont Park is a major thoroughbred horse racing facility located in the hamlet of Elmont, New York, in the Town of Hempstead, in Nassau County, Long Island. It first opened on May 4, 1905. It is typically open for racing throughout May, June and into late July, and again from late September through November. It is world-famous as the home of the Belmont Stakes, known as the "Test of the Champion", and the third leg of the Triple Crown.
Belmont Park History
Belmont is known as The Championship Track because most every major champion in racing history since the early 20th century has competed on the racecourse-including each of the 11 Triple Crown winners. Along with Saratoga Race Course, Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Churchill Downs in Louisville, and Del Mar and Santa Anita racecourses in California, Belmont is considered one of the elite racetracks in the sport.
The biggest crowd was in 2004 when 120,139 witnessed the Belmont Stakes as Smarty Jones was seeking the Triple Crown but was upset by Birdstone.
Belmont Park is operated by the non-profit New York Racing Association, as are Aqueduct and Saratoga Race Course, The group was formed in 1955 as the Greater New York Association to assume the assets of the individual associations that ran Belmont, Aqueduct, Saratoga Race Course, and the now-defunct old Jamaica Racetrack (The Rochdale Village housing development now occupies the site of Jamaica).
The 430 acres (1.7 km2) racing, training and barn complex is located on the western edge of the Nassau County region known as the Hempstead Plains. Just a few miles east on the same plains, the first racing meet in North America was held in 1665, supervised by colonial governor Richard Nicolls.
The dirt racecourse - known officially as the Main Track and nicknamed "Big Sandy" by racing followers - has a circumference of 11/2 miles (2.4 km), the longest dirt thoroughbred racetrack in North America. Immediately inside of this is the Widener Turf Course (named after the Widener family that has a long and prestigious history in American horse racing) spanning 15/16 miles (2.1 km) plus 27 feet (8.2 m), which in turn encircles an Inner Turf Course with a circumference of 13/16 miles (1.9 km) plus 103 feet (31 m). On the Main Track, it is 1,097 feet (334 m) from the top of the stretch to the finish line, and the segment between the wire and the start of the first (clubhouse) turn covers 843 feet (257 m); this latter segment is shorter by approximately 165 feet (50 m) on both of the turf courses, in order to accommodate the two chutes that exist on the Widener Turf Course, from which turf races of 1 mile (1.6 km) and 11/16 miles (1.7 km) are started; an additional chute exists for races of 11/16 miles (1.7 km) on the Inner Turf Course.
A straightaway chute leads on to the backstretch of the Main Track and permits races on the dirt up to 11/8 miles (1.8 km) miles long to be run with one turn. The chute used to extend further back across the training track but was shortened because a crossover is now infeasible given the clay base of the Main Track and stone-dust base of the training track. Before the 1990 Breeders' Cup, the outer rail of the Main Track was moved back to widen the middle of the clubhouse turn and soften the angle of the start of the 11/4 miles (2.0 km) Classic. The training track is 1 mile (1.6 km) in circumference and abuts the east end of the main track. In March 2009, lights were added to the training track as a safety measure to prevent early morning workouts from occurring in the dark.
By comparison, the King Abdul Aziz racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has a main track with a length of 11/4 miles (2.0 km) (as does Colonial Downs in Virginia), while the main track at Aqueduct is 11/8 miles (1.8 km) long. (Other grass courses in Europe have been longer, and most English racecourses are larger. Saudi Arabian racing once featured a course in old Riyadh from 9 to 12 miles (14 to 19 km) in length). San Isidro Hippodrome in Buenos Aires, Argentina has a 17/8 miles (3.0 km) grass track and an inner dirt track measuring around 15/8 miles (2.6 km).
Belmont Park Live Horse Racing Schedule
Wednesday through Sunday
Belmont Park Race Track Layout
Main Track:One and one-half Mile, oval.
Widener Turf:One and 5/16 Miles, 27 Feet.
Inner Turf: One and 3/16 Miles, 103 Feet.
Distance from last turn to finish line: 1,097 Feet.
Post Time at Belmont Park
1:00 p.m. Friday: 3:00 p.m.
Belmont Park Track Code
Current Weather Conditions at Belmont Park
Belmont Park Graded Stakes Races
Belmont Park Contact Information
2150 Hempstead Turnpike
Elmont, New York 11003
2150 Hempstead Turnpike
Elmont, New York 11003
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