Preps underway for Belmont Stakes with Triple Crown on the line
Nassau County officials on Monday kicked off Belmont Stakes week ahead of Saturday's big race, when all eyes will be on the racetrack with a Triple Crown on the line.
Some 90,000 people are expected to attend the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes this weekend in Elmont. After Justify won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, the Triple Crown contender is expected to draw a big crowd -- and officials say that's good news for the county.
"They're coming to Nassau County, which is wonderful for us when it comes to economic development," says County Executive Laura Curran. "It's a great showcase for us."
The New York Racing Association says it's ready for the huge crowds, and the Long Island Rail Road is bolstering its service. In 2014, people had to wait hours to catch a train after the race, so the LIRR is adding 21 extra trains this year that will depart every 15 minutes once the race ends.
Police will also be tightening security and checking every car that parks at Belmont Park. Items like coolers and backpacks will not be allowed at the event.
"We have increased our staff because it is a Triple Crown," says Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. "That's only so people can come and enjoy the day without any concerns, and we'll take care of the rest for you."
Plainfield Avenue will be closed at Hempstead Turnpike to Vandewater Avenue from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the big day. Police are urging people to use mass transit to get to the race.