Long Islanders will be off to the races this weekend as the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes takes place at Belmont Park in Elmont. The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival not only encompasses thoroughbred racing, but fanfare that extends over the course of three days, June 8-10.
“Each day, the momentum, the excitement builds to a crescendo whereby Saturday afternoon, at 5 p.m. the entire attention of the sports world focuses squarely on Belmont Park for what is always a historic race,” says Patrick McKenna, New York Racing Association’s vice president of communications. “The Belmont Backyard is pulsing with energy in the lead up to the Belmont Stakes. The moment those horses hit the paddock, it’s a different kind of electricity than you see at almost any sporting event.”
The Belmont Backyard will offer a variety of activities, included in the admission price.
Diplo to perform
Belmont Park is going to turn into a midday rave as iconic EDM DJ Diplo gets behind the wheels of steel to spin a set pumpin’ up the crowd in the West End Grandstand at 4:15 p.m. June 10.
“If there’s one thing we know, it’s that Diplo certainly brings his own vibe,” says McKenna. “Whether it’s 5 p.m. in the afternoon or 11 p.m. at a traditional concert venue, we expect the atmosphere to be exciting, especially being just before the biggest race that evening.”
Bands like the Mike Fox Trio as well as Black Tie Brass and Street Beat Brass will be roving through the Belmont Backyard on foot for crowds to enjoy June 9-10.
A tribute to Secretariat
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown winner Secretariat, there will be a pop-up museum called “A Tremendous Machine” on display featuring artifacts lent by the Helen B. Chenery Trust and Lee Carmichael presented by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
“Secretariat is one of the most iconic champions in the history of American sports," says McKenna. Don’t miss the bronze statue of Secretariat in the paddock, which is a recreation of John R. Skeaping’s 1974 original that was commissioned by Paul Mellon and is on display at the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga. Additionally, the Patriot Parachute team is set to do a special helicopter jump featuring Secretariat’s blue-and-white “silks” in tribute to the champion colt from Virginia.
Food truck village & picnics
Come hungry as The Coors Light Food Truck Village features more than 15 vendors selling everything from tacos and empanadas to burgers and smokehouse barbecue.
Stuf’d Gourmet Street Eats offers a Reuben or pulled pork grilled cheese on garlic buttered Texas toast. Meanwhile Meatoss serves up sandwiches like “The Carnivore” composed of top sirloin steak, roasted peppers, caramelized onions and spicy mayo on a crispy French baguette with chimichurri sauce, lettuce, tomatoes plus a choice of Cajun, lemon pepper or sweet potato fries. Chef Samir makes authentic Moroccan/Mediterranean cuisine in his self-titled food truck, which was featured on the Cooking Channel’s “Eat St.”
For a VIP experience, go in style by dining in the Garden Terrace which has tiered trackside seating with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the racetrack ($569.45 per person). Raise a glass in the Champagne Room featuring an upscale menu and premium open bar package ($569.45 per person).
For those who wish to picnic in the Belmont Backyard, only food items and nonalcoholic beverages individually carried in a small plastic container or cooler no larger than 12” x 6” x 12” are permitted.
Drinks and more
Those 21 and over (with valid ID) can partake in the Toast Beer Tasting on the third floor of the Grandstand with suds from more than 15 New York craft breweries on Saturday at 6:45 p.m. Each ticket includes a three-hour craft beer tasting, four 12-ounce beers and one bottled water plus a souvenir tasting cup with a lanyard ($173.17 per person). Seating is unassigned and available on a first-come, first served basis for Toast ticket holders.
The Belmont Stakes even has its own signature cocktail called the Belmont Jewel. The drink, which is available at any alcohol serving concession stand, is made up of 1.5-ounce bourbon whiskey, 2-ounce lemonade, 1-ounce pomegranate juice garnished with a lemon twist.
BELMONT STAKES RACING FESTIVAL
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m., Thursday, June 8; 1 p.m., Friday, June 9; Gates open at 9 a.m., race at 6:45 p.m., Saturday, June 10; Belmont Park, 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont
INFO 844-488-4351, belmontstakes.com
ADMISSION Thursday, June 8: $6; Friday, June 9: $20.15; Saturday, June 10: $46.80-$569.45