By Philip Newman
The Long Island Rail Road, with a financial boost from the New York Racing Association, is restoring service this Saturday to Belmont Park racetrack, including the 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes in June.
LIRR trains to the Elmont, L.I., track at the Queens border had been eliminated last year because of the dire financial status of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
LIRR service to Belmont is to return April 29 for the summer racing season.
“This is a unique agreement that brings in new revenue for the LIRR while restoring an important service for customers,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “We are grateful that the New York Racing Association has stepped up to bring back a service that the LIRR could no longer afford to provide on our own and we hope this new partnership between our organizations will continue for decades to come.”
Williams did not say how much of the cost the New York Racing Association was bearing.
NYRA President and Chairman Charles Hayward said, “We are thrilled to partner with the Long Island Rail Road to provide daily train service to and from Belmont Park for the upcoming meet. This will allow easy and convenient access for customers in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens who want to enjoy an afternoon of racing in Belmont.”
Williams and NYRA officials made the announcement at a news conference in Penn Station where they were joined by Sam the Bugler, the famed racetrack musician who summons fans to the rail with stirring renditions of “Call to the Post.”
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 718-260-4536.