Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano was joined today by officials from the New York Racing Association, LIRR and the New York State Hotel and Hospitality Association to kick off this weekend’s Belmont Stakes – now in its 146th year – and to announce an economic boom expected for the area as a result of the event.
In addition, Mangano announced the annual Belmont Festival in Garden City which begins tomorrow. This event, sponsored by the New York Racing Association and Stifel Investment Services, takes place on 7th Street from 6-10 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, June 6. The festival will feature live music, family-friendly activities including games, face painting and pony rides and a chicken – “Wing Off” – competition that will benefit the Ace in the Hole Foundation, created in honor of 1st Lt. Michael LiCalzi, a Garden City resident who lost his life while serving his country during Operation Iraqi Freedom in May of 2006.
County Executive Mangano said the Belmont Stakes is always a great start to the summer tourism season, but with this year’s Triple Crown contender California Chrome, it’s expected to make for an even greater weekend at the track.
“I invite everyone to visit Belmont Park and take advantage of the frequent train service provided by the Long Island Railroad,” Mangano said, at the announcement this morning at the Garden City Hotel. “The race provides our County with a major boon to the local economy and this Saturday millions around the world will be watching us once again.”
The Belmont Stakes is one of the largest sporting events in the world. Tens of millions of viewers and spectators watch the famed sporting event from across the world and over 120,000 spectators are expected to attend Saturday’s event. Millions of dollars will be poured into the local economy. Local restaurants, hotels, cafes, and merchants are expected to have a large spike in business.
In a regular season, economists predict that Belmont Racing season benefits the local economy to the tune of nearly $10 million dollars and that doesn’t count the benefit from visitors spending their dollars at local hotels, restaurants, and retail locations. The financial benefit to the county could potentially be double due to the Triple Crown contender “California Chrome” when taking into account the hotels and restaurants that benefit from an event of this magnitude. For one afternoon, the eyes of the world will turn its eyes to Nassau’s own Belmont Stakes.
The Nassau County Police Department has been meeting with the New York State Police Department, the MTA Police, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Belmont’s private security and other law enforcement agencies in an effort to work together to protect our residents and visitors. Additional resources and personnel will be utilized to help ensure that Saturday’s Belmont Stakes is a fun filled day for everyone without incident. To that end, there will be no backpacks, no coolers, no luggage and no duffel bags allowed. Food items if spectators want to bring them must be in see-through plastic containers or see through bags.
LIRR President Pat Nowakowski said the LIRR will be the best way to avoid traffic and “get to Belmont for the Stakes race and a potential Triple Crown.”
“We will have plenty of extra service to and from the event. We urge customers to buy their train tickets in advance and consider staying at the park for the late races and for the special concert after the Stakes race to avoid the surge of customers who tend to leave immediately after the big race. We know this will be a great event for Nassau County and for our region and we are happy to support it with extra train service to help keep cars off the roads.”
In addition, residents and visitors can attend festivities in Floral Park this Sunday. The Village of Floral Park will host their Annual Floral Park Belmont Festival on Sunday, June 8th from 2pm to 7pm on Tulip Avenue.
The Belmont Stakes take place this Saturday, June 7, 2011 at Belmont Park, located at 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont NY. For more information please visit www.belmontstakes.com
Although there will be many winners and losers of the 120,000 attending the race Saturday, with the support of our surrounding organizations, the safest bet will be on a healthy and prosperous Nassau County.