One New York racetrack is opening up to its fans and bettors for the 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville and for its own live race program.
With detailed racetrack health and safety protocols from the state, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced Wednesday that Belmont Park in Elmont will re-open to a limited number of spectators on Saturday.
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Daily tickets to Belmont Park will be available for $15 and will include track admission, a reserved seat in the clubhouse, a pocket program and reserved parking, according to a news release. Assigned seating is mandatory and groups will be physically separated within all seating areas to ensure social distancing.
In accordance with New York requirements, daily attendance is limited to 20 percent of seated capacity for outdoor areas. To enter Belmont Park, all ticketed spectators must submit proof of a completed vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result.
Spectators must purchase track admission in advance and adhere to the strict health and safety protocols set by the state. This comes a day after the CDC announced easing restrictions on wearing masks outdoors.
“NYRA has been working collectively toward this goal since the start of the pandemic and we are thrilled to be able to welcome fans back to Belmont Park,” NYRA President & CEO Dave O’Rourke said in the release. “We thank our fans for their loyalty and support over this challenging year and look forward to the spring and summer ahead.”
Proof of Vaccination, Test
Ticketed spectators may submit proof of completed vaccination by presenting the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or digitally through the New York State Excelsior Pass. They may also submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result by presenting a physical copy of the test result or digitally through the New York State Excelsior Pass.
The NYRA will adjust admission protocols accordingly should the CDC/New York State alter COVID-19 vaccination and/or testing requirements, it said in the release.
After opening weekend, Belmont Park will allow a limited number of spectators on all live race days. All admission must be purchased in advance. There will be no walk-up ticket sales of any kind.
Saturday’s stakes action at Belmont features a trio of graded events with the Grade 2, $200,000 Fort Marcy for older horses at nine furlongs on turf; the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay at 11 furlongs on turf for older fillies and mares; and the Grade 3, $200,000 Westchester at one mile on the main track for older horses. First post is 12:20 p.m.
Gates at Belmont Park will open to the public at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Social distancing will be enforced throughout the property, including in the area surrounding the paddock and length of the apron.
The Belmont Stakes, the third jewel in the Triple Crown, will be run on June 5. That follows the other Triple Crown races, Saturday's Kentucky Derby and the May 15 Preakness.