The 2024 Belmont Stakes Coming to Saratoga Race Course
Four Day Belmont Festival Coming in June, No Changes to Saratoga’s 40-Day Summer Meet
ANNOUNCEMENT: GOVERNOR HOCHUL WELCOMES THE 2024 BELMONT STAKES TO THE SARATOGA RACE COURSE
Press Release Courtesy of NYRA
“Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the Belmont Stakes will be held at Saratoga Race Course in 2024 to allow for the uninterrupted construction of a new and re-imagined Belmont Park, the Long Island home of the third leg of the Triple Crown.
“As part of the exciting modernization of Belmont Park, Saratoga now adds to its storied history by hosting the 3rd leg of the Triple Crown,” Governor Hochul said. “It’s a win for horseracing and for the Capital Region to have the excitement and the ability to host the four-day Festival in June at America’s most historic track. As I said during the 2023 Saratoga Meet, ‘Let’s do it.’”
Highlighted by the 156th edition of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 8, the 2024 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will begin on Thursday, June 6 and continue through Sunday, June 9. The four-day Festival at Saratoga Race Course will include 23 stakes races in total with purses totaling $9.7 million, the highest purse levels and number of stakes offered since the launch of the multi day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival in 2014.
An American tradition inaugurated in 1867 at Jerome Park Racetrack and moved in 1905 to Belmont Park, the Belmont Stakes has provided fans with some of the most exciting moments in sports history. From Secretariat’s spellbinding 31-length victory in 1973 to American Pharoah successfully ending a 37-year Triple Crown drought in 2015, the Belmont Stakes captures the attention of the sports world every June.
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) will increase the purse of the Belmont Stakes from $1.5 million to $2 million in 2024, which is the first significant increase since 2014. In addition, pending the approval of the North American Graded Stakes Committee, the Belmont Stakes will be contested at 1 1/4 miles in 2024 rather than the traditional 1 1/2 miles due to the configuration of Saratoga’s main track.
Earlier this year, Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget included a proposal for NYRA to build new thoroughbred racing facilities at Belmont Park, the FY2024 Enacted Budget granted that approval. This project will upgrade the 117-year-old track, bringing the modern hospitality offerings fans expect while generating $1 billion in construction-related impacts, 3,700 construction jobs, $155 million in annual economic activity, and 740 new full-time jobs. Upgrading Belmont will also secure the future of the sport of horse racing, which sustains 19,000 jobs across the state and a $3 billion annual economic impact. The new Belmont Park will also dramatically expand the amount of open space available to fans and the surrounding community.
Following the conclusion of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga, the NYRA circuit will return to Aqueduct Racetrack for the remainder of the spring meet before racing shifts to Saratoga for the annual 40-day summer meet beginning Thursday, July 11. Prior to the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, the Belmont spring/summer meet will be conducted at Aqueduct. The fall meet customarily held at Belmont Park will again be shifted to Aqueduct Racetrack in 2024 while construction of a new Belmont Park continues.
While 2024 will mark the first time the Belmont Stakes unfolds at Saratoga, the race was moved to Aqueduct Racetrack from 1963-1967 when Belmont Park last underwent significant renovations. Traditionally run at the “Test of the Champion” distance of 1 ½ miles, the distance has been adjusted throughout history and as recently as 2020 when the Triple Crown was modified because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional information and details on hospitality offerings, ticket packages and pricing for the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course will be available in early 2024.
New York Racing Association President & CEO David O’Rourke said, “Thanks to Governor Hochul’s support for a new and modernized Belmont Park, NYRA will soon be able to bring the Belmont Stakes to Upstate New York for the first time in history. Beyond the excitement and energy around a Triple Crown event at the sport’s most beloved venue, the Belmont Stakes at Saratoga Race Course will generate important economic impact and drive tourism throughout the Capital Region. We are thrilled to add a new chapter to the story of thoroughbred racing in Saratoga Springs this June.”
State Senator Jim Tedisco said, “The Governor’s announcement that the Belmont Stakes, one of the sporting world’s premier international athletic events, will be held at the historic Saratoga Race Course in 2024 is thrilling news for Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County, and the entire 44th Senate District and will undoubtedly be a major boon for tourism and the economy of our area.”
Assemblymember Carrie Woerner said, “I am thrilled to help welcome our Long Island neighbors and fellow thoroughbred racing fans from around the globe to Saratoga this June. It will be so exciting to have the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown, here in our backyard, for the first time in Saratoga Race Course’s 160 year history. Recalling an old advertising slogan, Saratoga will definitely be ‘thoroughly thoroughbred’ this summer and I can’t wait to be a part of it!”
Saratoga Race Course Local Advisory Board Chair Joseph A. Torani said, “Saratoga Race Course is an engine of our local economy and a source of immense civic pride. This year’s Belmont Stakes Racing Festival presents the opportunity to hold a world class event outside of the traditional summer racing season, which is incredibly exciting for this community. We thank Gov. Hochul for her consistent support of horse racing in Saratoga and throughout the state.”
Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus said, “Saratoga County continues to grow and thrive because of world-class attractions like Saratoga Race Course. Governor Hochul has long championed Upstate New York as the ideal place to live, work and vacation. That’s exactly what racing fans will find here in Saratoga when they visit for the Belmont Stakes in June.”
About the New York Racing Association (NYRA)
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) is a not-for-profit organization franchised by New York State to conduct thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York State’s horse racing economy, which is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual statewide impact.”
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