Attendance for the 2022 Belmont Stakes this summer will nearly be cut in half — and it’s not because of COVID.
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced on Monday that the 154th running of the third jewel of the Triple Crown, scheduled for June 11 at Belmont Park in Elmont, will only allow 50,000 spectators within its confines due to the construction and opening of UBS Arena — the new home of the New York Islanders that opened in November that is just a stone’s throw away from the track. Previous Belmont Stakes had seen the capacity hit the 90,000 mark.
While the in-house capacity of Belmont Park hasn’t changed, UBS Arena’s construction and opening have taken up a major portion of the venue’s backyard, where fans are able to mingle near the paddocks.
The venue is already making strides to expand its viewing areas within the infield of the track, which will allow that attendance number to expand in the future.
“The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival is a celebration of the best of Thoroughbred racing, and we look forward to the return of fans in large numbers following last year’s considerable restrictions due to the COVID pandemic,” NYRA president Dave O’Rourke said in the release. “As the Belmont Park property continues to transition and evolve, NYRA is committed to providing our loyal fans the best possible experience now and in the future. The updated capacity will accomplish this goal while ensuring that fans are treated to an incredibly exciting three days of world-class racing and entertainment.”
Tickets for the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, which features three days of racing from June 9-11 and is headlined by the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, will be available on Thursday morning at 10 AM ET via Ticketmaster.