Belmont Stakes boosts security in marathon bombings' wake
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Nassau County officials announced Thursday that they will institute heightened security measures for Saturday's Belmont Stakes Race in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Frank Kirby, Nassau Police chief of patrol, promised "more police for this year's race"; deployment of "a [mobile, three-story] Sky Tower to keep a watchful eye in the picnic area"; and the use of the "most sophisticated electronic equipment" and a helicopter. Additional law enforcement will include the FBI, the NYPD and Suffolk County Police Department, Kirby said.
County Executive Edward Mangano said the precautions will be "similar to what we did with our Long Island Marathon," last month, when the county added uniformed and plainclothes officers, emergency medical and mental health officials, and the State Police to also help with security.
Kirby also said no backpacks or coolers will be allowed beyond the parking lot and only small bags can be carried into the racetrack facility.
The New York Racing Association website lists other items prohibited from the Belmont Stakes, including luggage and duffel bags, and food items not kept in see-through containers.
The Long Island Rail Road also announced Thursday that it is adding 38 trains -- 18 eastbound, 20 westbound -- to its regular schedule for the Belmont Stakes.
From Long Island, passengers may take trains to Jamaica that will connect with the Belmont Stakes trains, which will leave beginning at 10:03 a.m. Saturday. The last train to the park is at 4:59 p.m.
The first race is at 11:32 a.m. The stakes is set for 6:36 p.m., with two more races to follow.
Also, Garden City will host its Belmont Festival on Seventh Street from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, and Floral Park will hold a festival on Sunday on Tulip Avenue from 2 to 7 p.m.