Updated on 03/20/2014 10:07AM

Belmont Park: Modest price increases for admission, seating at rich Belmont Stakes card


While there will be some price increases in admission and seating for this year’s Belmont Stakes, they are not nearly as steep as initially thought when NYRA president and chief executive Chris Kay suggested they would be in line with prices for the Kentucky Derby.

Grandstand admission to the Belmont Stakes on June 7 will remain at $10, while clubhouse admission will increase by $10 to $30, the New York Racing Association announced Monday.

Some seats in the third floor of the clubhouse and grandstand will have increases from $10 to $20, but there will be a large selection of third-floor upper-tier reserved seats where prices will again range from $20 to $65. There will be a reduction in price for hundreds of second-floor grandstand seats, from $120 to $95, according to NYRA. In all, almost 30 percent of reserved seats on Belmont Stakes Day will be equal to or lower than last year’s prices.

“One of the key things is that the core fan can still get in for $10,” said David O’Rourke, NYRA’s vice president for corporate development. “All benches will be open – we’re not changing any of that.”

The biggest change is the introduction of what NYRA is calling the “Champagne Room,” which essentially is the Belmont Café, where NYRA hosts dark-day and offseason simulcasting. Pricing for that room is $300 and includes private access to the apron area in front of it as well as an all-day buffet and open bar. The capacity of that area is between 500 to 700, according to O’Rourke.

The Belmont Café will be redesigned and decorated in advance of Belmont Stakes Day.

NYRA also is introducing a “Trophy Room” that will feature a la carte dining choices and will be on the second-floor clubhouse, available to those seated past the finish line.

Seats in the Garden Terrace, the dining room on the fourth floor, will range in price from $375 to $450, with the higher-priced seats from the sixteenth pole to the finish line. In past years, all prices in the Garden Terrace were $350.

Last month, NYRA announced that the Belmont Stakes Day card would be enhanced to include 10 stakes races worth $7.7 million, with total purses for that day’s 13-race card reaching $8 million, making it the second-richest card in North America, behind only the Saturday of the Breeders’ Cup. Six stakes are Grade 1 races, including the $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap and the $1 million Ogden Phipps, both moved from the Memorial Day card.

When the schedule for Belmont Stakes Day was announced, Kay mentioned that pricing would be on par with the Kentucky Derby, which charges $50 general admission and $350 per seat with a two-day required purchase.

“There’s always internal negotiations,” O’Rourke said when asked about the decision to keep price increases modest. “Giving fans a great day of racing for a great price is where we ended up.”

Grandstand and clubhouse admission as well as tickets and seats go on sale March 31.

NYRA also confirmed that admission for Saratoga will go up to $5 (grandstand) and $8 (clubhouse) from $3 and $5, respectively. Also, applications are now being accepted for the reserved seat lottery for the 2014 Saratoga season. Those who have customarily received ticket applications in the mail will so again. However, applications are also available at nyra.com/saratogatickets. Applications must be returned to the NYRA Box Office by April 15.

There are increases for parking at both Belmont Park and Saratoga as well. While general parking remains free at both tracks, preferred parking at the Belmont meet will go up from $2 to $3 while clubhouse parking will increase from $5 to $7. At Saratoga, preferred parking will increase from $5 to $7 and trackside parking will go up from $10 to $12.

In a previous version of this article it was incorrectly stated that total purses for 2014 Belmont Stakes card were $10 million. The figure is $8 million.