New York Racing Association 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.
This project, among others, is part of NYRA’s fiscal 2023 capital budget, which was approved Wednesday by New York’s 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 after 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.
“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 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. The new Belmont 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.
“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,” Kozak said. “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 2023 winter meet at Aqueduct continues through March 26.