Business owners, trainers optimistic Belmont Stakes will go off without a hitch

Gov. Kathy Hochul says the air quality numbers will determine if the horses run.

News 12 Staff

Jun 9, 2023, 9:41 AM

Updated 307 days ago

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Many events across Long Island are still in a wait-and-see plan for the weekend due to the poor air quality, including the Belmont Stakes.
Gov. Kathy Hochul says air quality numbers will determine if the horses run. If the levels exceed 200, the race will be canceled.
If the levels are between 150 and 200, Hochul says only horses who pass a pre-race veterinary exam will be allowed to compete.
"The message is this isn't over, we might get a little rest, but I don't want people to let down their guard and to become complacent about this because we have to be prepared for the winds to shift," says Hochul.  
Business owners in the area are optimistic that the race will go on.
"Very excited," says Giovanni Cesarano, of King Umberto Restaurant. "It's always good to have an event go on in the area. It helps boost businesses."
About 40,000-50,000 people from around the world are expected to pack Belmont Park for the final leg of the Triple Crown.
Ben Borgognone says he's spent weeks prepping his bakery and restaurant in Floral Park to serve hungry race fans.
"A lot of people are waiting for this, and they wait all year. It's a big boost to their business, especially further in Hempstead," says Borgognone, of Buttercooky Bakery & Cafe.
Practice runs were held Friday, making horse trainer Michelle Nevin optimistic about the race.
The governor says the state will continue to track air quality regularly and that the fate of the Belmont Stakes will be a last-minute decision.


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