NYRA ponies up so bettors can get to Belmont

After a year without train service to Belmont Park, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is restoring service to New York’s horseracing Mecca on Friday, April 29.

Previously, service was eliminated as just one of a number of service reductions to address the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) $900 million budget shortfall. However, a new partnership between LIRR and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) brings regular train service back to racing fans for the start of the Spring-Summer Meet, on through the rest of the 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 E. Williams. “We are grateful that NYRA has stepped up to bring back a service that the LIRR could no longer afford to provide on our own in the current financial climate. The LIRR has been taking racing fans to Belmont for decades and we hope this new partnership between our organizations will continue for decades to come.”

Williams and NYRA officials made the announcement official at a Penn Station news conference on Tuesday, April 26. They were joined by Sam the Bugler, the famed racetrack musician who welcomes fans to the rail with “Call to the Post.”

The LIRR’s Belmont Special ticket package goes on sale Friday, April 29, for Belmont’s opening weekend. For the entire weekend, LIRR customers will be entitled to free grandstand admission at the racetrack, which is usually $3. For the remainder of the Spring-Summer Meet, LIRR customers who purchase the Belmont Package will receive a $1 discount off the regular $3 admission.

“We are thrilled to partner with the LIRR to provide daily train service to and from Belmont Park for the upcoming meet,” said NYRA president and CEO Charles Hayward. “This will allow easy and convenient access for customers in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens that want to enjoy an afternoon of racing at Belmont.”

The LIRR will also provide extra train service for the 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 11.

Ticket packages are available at LIRR touch screen ticket machines at stations under “Deals & Getaways.” However, the LIRR ticket office at the Belmont station is closed and there are no ticket machines at the track.

For more information and schedules for LIRR’s service to and from Belmont, contact LIRR’s Travel Information Center at 718-217-5477 or visit www.mta.info.