Belmont Stakes - I need your help!

Belmont Stakes - I need your help!

Postby Life At Zen » Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:54 pm

Ok, I think I'm going to Belmont his year. A trip to see a horse race is going to be my birthday present. I initially wanted to do the Breeders Cup but that runs into scheduling conflicts with my dogs and a planned litter.

Next best thing, to me, is Belmont (Derby aside, since the prices now are ridiculous). I'll cross my fingers for another TC attempt.

I have a bunch of questions. What tickets are best? Is general admission shitty in the sense that you're standing all day? I have problems with my neck from a car accident so sitting is good for me but I can stand for a while - just need some time to rest now and then.

I've heard public transportation is a nightmare but it's my only option. What's the best way to go about this?

Hotels? Best location (safe but close)?

Thank you!!
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Re: Belmont Stakes - I need your help!

Postby Tessablue » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:12 pm

Even without a TC on the line, Belmont day is great! The card is outstanding and has become something of a mini-BC, so it should be a great time even if the Belmont field is terrible (which is frankly often is).

-There are benches available through general admission, but you have to get there very early and be prepared to stake out your spot all day (this is a lot easier if you go with a bunch of people, otherwise, bring a blanket). This is doable on non-TC years, a lot dicier during TC years, and utterly miserable if it rains. So personally I'd recommend seats, I'd say just go with whatever price level works for you because there's a lottery system and you don't really get to choose where you end up. There really aren't any bad seats, but Belmont is so huge that ending up near the clubhouse means you've got a bit of a hike from your seat to the paddock.

-Unfortunately I do not have experience with using public transit to get to and from Belmont. A cab shouldn't be unreasonable if you get there fairly early (again, if a TC is on the line things kind of go out the window). Leaving is often a mess but there are races after the Belmont and it's often a good idea to let the place clear out if you aren't in a hurry to leave. Overall, I think I'd recommend asking your hotel for advice on how to get there.

-We stay at the Comfort Inn in Maspeth. Safe, clean, cheapish, about 20 minutes from the track. I think they have a shuttle option from the airport. Again, I'd do some research to determine whether public transit is feasible from here.

Hope that helps, let me know if you have any further questions!
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Re: Belmont Stakes - I need your help!

Postby Life At Zen » Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:36 pm

Thanks Tessablue!

I was looking at the Best Western Jamaica Inn that's about 15km from Belmont. It had good reviews on Expedia and tripadvisor. Are you familiar with it at all?

In regards to reserved seating. I was thinking second level. Does it matter if you're in tow A or further back? Does it make a huge difference? It would be nice to have a seat I know won't get stolen from me.
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Re: Belmont Stakes - I need your help!

Postby serenassong » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:12 pm

Life At Zen wrote:Thanks Tessablue!

I was looking at the Best Western Jamaica Inn that's about 15km from Belmont. It had good reviews on Expedia and tripadvisor. Are you familiar with it at all?

In regards to reserved seating. I was thinking second level. Does it matter if you're in tow A or further back? Does it make a huge difference? It would be nice to have a seat I know won't get stolen from me.


I have not been for several years, but to me, the third floor has the best sight line. When you are down on the apron or second floor- looking towards the backstretch during a race, all you see is the horses heads just clearing the rail. You have a clear view from 3.

It is a HUGE track. You will be surprised the first time seeing it live. I would bring a pair of binoculars- both for the backside and coming into the lane and farther- depending on your seats.

Not sure if they still allow it, but if your are not picky- there are guys selling Belmont T-shirts in the parking lot- they are slightly imperfects and possibly copies- but for the price make a nice reminder of the day.

Wear very comfortable shoes- they have buses from the parking lot- but even when you get dropped off- you still have a distance to go- depending once again where your seats are.

Make your bets as early as possible for each race- try to bet a few races in advance- it gets crowded- and once the graded stakes races starts, gets even more difficult. I would place you bets for the Belmont and the race before that no later than 2 races before the Belmont. This is even better if you dont have a paid seat. If for some reason you dont have a dedicated seat- you can hang out just behind where the seats start- stake out a space- again 2 races before the big dance.

If you are a lady- try to limit your drink- the lines are really long. There are ladies in there that try and keep everything clean- very nice. They sell little things- gums, candies, etc. They work hard and dont make much. You can give them a few bucks or buy something- they will remember you if you come back in and try to help you get thru quickly.

Depending on the weather- try and dress comfortable and in layers. It can get windy- if its raining can get cold quickly- even in June- you are not that far away from LI sound. It's better to be a bit overdressed and be able to take something off than be cold. Unless its a heat wave- it will be colder in the stands.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Belmont Stakes - I need your help!

Postby Delamont » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:46 pm

Do the restaurants in the Belmont clubhouse have their own rest rooms?
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Re: Belmont Stakes - I need your help!

Postby Life At Zen » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:32 pm

So it's actually better to be in the third level than the second? Good to know.

What DO people usually wear? I know the Derby is all about the hats and dresses - is Belmont the same?

I live in Canada so I'm very used to the cold. I'll still plan accordingly though, as June is notorious for rain storms.
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Re: Belmont Stakes - I need your help!

Postby serenassong » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:07 pm

Life At Zen wrote:So it's actually better to be in the third level than the second? Good to know.

What DO people usually wear? I know the Derby is all about the hats and dresses - is Belmont the same?

I live in Canada so I'm very used to the cold. I'll still plan accordingly though, as June is notorious for rain storms.


IMO, the third floor has the best sight line.
I see most people wearing comfortable clothing in the Grandstand- some will dress up if they are in a group that is in the clubhouse, restaurants, etc. Its not the same kind of thing as the Derby with the hats and all.

Pre 9/11- people would actually set up bars in the grandstand and coolers with all kinds of goodies. It was a fun atmosphere- everyone was friendly and we had lots of fun with people that we did not know until getting there. I find it kinda sad that the world has changed and this cant happen anymore.

If you have experience with rain and cold weather- you should be fine in planning for the weather.
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Re: Belmont Stakes - I need your help!

Postby Somnambulist » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:22 pm

If you're staying in Jamaica you can take a cab to the LIRR Jamaica station and get a transfer train to Belmont from there. Make sure you tell them Jamaica LIRR SPECIFICALLY. It's a huge ugly glass station. You could take the subway but Jamaica is not my favorite place to be so I'm just trying to give you what I would do. Public transport is not really a nightmare here so don't let it intimidate you. This train only runs from Jamaica and Belmont and back. I would trust the reviews on the website.

The LIRR has a free app that will give you the train schedule and the fare. It was a nightmare for Chrome but effortless apparently since. I guess the MTA finally decided to do something useful with the ridiculous fare hikes they impose on us yearly.

As for the dress code - there isn't one. I've worn a dress to the past 3 but I find them infinitely more comfy. I've gone to the Belmont in shorts, a tank and flip flops.

I honestly find Belmont so huge that there's really no bad seat in terms of not being able to see. No one is gonna steal your seat and if they do tell them to GTFO. If there's no TC chances are you can sit in something better with no one bothering you. I paid $200 last year for my seat but I'll be cheaper this year.
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Re: Belmont Stakes - I need your help!

Postby Tessablue » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:19 am

Yeah, just check out the weather forecast and dress accordingly. I guess you could dress up but it's a loooong day and the weather can vary from freezing to sweltering.

Seats that are further back will protect you if it rains, and it doesn't make much difference as far as viewing the track. I prefer the second floor because I spend most of the day running from my seat to the paddock, but the third floor has its own benefits such as the secret women's bathroom alllll the way down near the clubhouse turn. I also think the roving bands of intolerable coral-pants-wearing bros are less numerous up there. But all the seats are good, I promise.
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Re: Belmont Stakes - I need your help!

Postby Horsebagger » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:22 pm

Tessablue wrote:....the roving bands of intolerable coral-pants-wearing bros.....


Hey....careful who you're talking about....
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