01/07/2015 2:13PM

Belmont barn expansion continues

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The New York Racing Association continues to make progress on expanding the Belmont Park barn area, nearly completing the construction of one new barn and expanding several others. The goal is to have 200 additional stalls by May and another 50 by the fall.

Belmont’s barn area expansion is part of $36 million in capital improvements the NYRA has planned in 2015 for its three racetracks - Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga.

NYRA officials say Barn 48 - a 50-stall barn that replaces one that burned down back in 1986 - is awaiting only final inspections and could be open by the end of January. NYRA has nearly completed the expansion of Barns 1 and 6 and plans to expand five more - 10,15,18,19 and 24 - before the Belmont spring/summer meet opens on April 29. Later, Barns 32 and 33 could also be expanded, according to Glen Kozak, NYRA’s vice president of facilities and racing surfaces.

NYRA is looking to expand the Belmont barn area to help house horses that will be displaced when the Aqueduct barn area is shut down for the season in May. Some horses from there will also be able to go to Saratoga, which typically opens its barn area in mid-April.

In addition to expanding the barn area, NYRA is spending money to update its security system on the front side of Aqueduct and Belmont, replacing old technology with new and adding a few new cameras. Work has already been done in that area at Saratoga.

NYRA is planning technological upgrades to the company’s customer service, simulcast, television and online platforms throughout the course of the year.

Also, NYRA plans to complete the construction of a new dormitory at Belmont Park by October. The new dorm will offer 47 double-occupancy rooms. Eight dorms have already been renovated at Saratoga with renovations on two more expected this spring.