05/26/2015 11:20AM

Tickets still available as NYRA preps for big Belmont Stakes Day


With less than two weeks remaining until American Pharoah attempts to become Thoroughbred racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years at the Belmont Stakes on June 6, approximately 22,000 grandstand general admission tickets still are available, according to the New York Racing Association.

NYRA officials confirmed that information after issuing a press release Tuesday detailing attempts to facilitate access in and out of Belmont Park this year after traffic and transit nightmares a year ago, when 102,199 fans came to watch California Chrome go for the Triple Crown.

“We are ahead of last year in terms of ticket sales,” said NYRA spokesman John Durso Jr.

Durso added that in past years, NYRA has sold 30,000 to 40,000 general admission tickets the day of the race.

NYRA announced it was capping attendance for this year’s Belmont at 90,000, a figure that would represent the sixth-largest Belmont Stakes crowd. Churchill Downs and Pimlico announced record crowds of 170,513 and 131,680, respectively, at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Both of those facilities make use of their vast infield property, while Belmont Park does not.

General admission tickets – which do not offer seating – cost $15 on track or $19.50 through Ticketmaster. NYRA is hoping to eliminate walk-up sales on Belmont Day but will sell general admission tickets on the day if they are not sold out by then. All reserved seating for Belmont Stakes Day is sold out.

Meanwhile, NYRA outlined a series of steps it hopes will improve access in and out of Belmont on June 6.

In conjunction with the Long Island Rail Road, NYRA has spent $5 million to upgrade the train station at Belmont Park. Platforms have been refurbished to handle 10-car trains as opposed to eight, and a nearby station will be closed in order to house trains that will come to Belmont Park immediately after one leaves the track’s station.

In its press release, NYRA advised fans using mass transit they “may have to wait up to 90 minutes to board trains at the end of the day when tens of thousands converge on the station all at once.”

NYRA is adding shuttles for fans who park on site and those who live locally or who park in surrounding communities. Fans who park on site can use shuttles that will be at the main clubhouse entrance, the main paddock gate, and the west paddock gate.

NYRA also will provide local shuttles from Belmont Park to specific points in neighboring Floral Park and Elmont for fans who don’t want to drive to the track. The specific pick-up and drop-off points can be found at BelmontStakes.com.

Despite all the changes, NYRA said, “Significant delays should be anticipated accessing and exiting the property, with fans encouraged to arrive early and stay late.”

Toward the latter point, NYRA plans to host a concert by the Goo Goo Dolls following the last race, post time for which is slated for 8:10 p.m., an hour and 20 minutes after the scheduled post for the Belmont Stakes.