04/25/2011 5:30PM

Belmont Park: NYRA financing resumption of train service

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The New York Racing Association is paying the Long Island Rail Road to restore train service to Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., starting with the track's opening day on Friday, association officials said on Monday.

Regular train service from Penn Station in midtown Manhattan to the doors of Belmont Park was suspended in 2009 as part of cuts to close a budget deficit. NYRA decided this year to support the restoration of the service financially because of a 50 percent increase in average attendance at the association's Aqueduct race meet since New York City OTB closed all of its operations in December.

"It's our hope that the train service will pay for itself with increased admissions and other ontrack revenues," said NYRA spokesperson Dan Silver.

Since the OTB's closing, the association has paid for regular bus shuttles throughout the city that transport customers either to Aqueduct for live racing or Belmont for simulcasting.

The Belmont Park train makes several stops on the way to the track. Without direct service, riders were required to disembark at Queens Village and either walk to the track or catch a ride on a free shuttle bus.