A DAY AT THE RACES: Watching The Kentucky Derby... From Belmont Park

belmont park finish line

Photo: Dashiell Bennett/Business Insider

We weren’t able to make it to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby (and New York State shut down its Off-Track Betting operation), so we did the next best thing last Saturday.We took the train out to Belmont Park in Elmont, NY, so we could experience all the action of the track, without the overpriced seats and mint juleps.

You still get live horse racing, you can still find beer and fancy hats, and best of all, you can still watch and bet (legally) on the Kentucky Derby.

The cost of admission? Three bucks.

It isn’t Churchill Downs on Derby Day, but its a much better deal then you’ll get in June when Belmont hosts the final the leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes.

We entered through the backyard, where fans can picnic outdoors and still keep an eye on the action.

The Secretariat statue honours one of Belmont's greatest legends.

Moving trackside, there's some lawn up here too. Kick back and relax as the horses go by.

The main grandstand. Sold-out tickets will go for hundreds on Stakes day, but today it's virtually empty.

These seats are typically reserved for owners and trainers, but all the big shots are in Kentucky.

Our first jockey sighting.

See? Real horse racing!

A jockey does a post-race breakdown with a trainer.

The Winners Circle! Family and friends pose for a photo.

More picnic tables are set up right by the track. (But these have to reserved in advance.)

Let's head inside. Fans can still see the track from just inside the doors.

Empty betting windows. On Stakes Day, they'll all be lined up here.


The clubhouse has a lot of photos and mementos from Belmont's storied history.

A random trophy case.

Yes, you can get your hair cut at the track.

Time for the post parade!

Before each race, the horses take a stroll in front of the crowd so handicappers can see how they look.

They're lead from the stable, out past the fans ...

... and up the tunnel that leads to the track.

Gamblers get in some last minute bets before each race.

And they're off!

Rounding the back stretch...

More gamblers follow the race on the dozens of TVs throughout the clubhouse

Down the stretch they come!


Our first bet of the day ... we won! (The rest of the day was not so strong.)

Fans follow the action trackside.

Jockeys are weighed (with their saddle) immediately before and after each race.

A winning jockey enters the winner's circle.

Hard-working horses are hosed down after the race.

Then led back to the barn.

Here's where the serious handicappers hang out. They rent cubicles (for $2 a day) with TVs that allow them to watch races all over the country.

What are you looking at?

People stay glued to the TVs that bring in races from all over the country. And they aren't even in HD!

The big board keeps track of all the action at Belmont Park.

Fans enjoy a leisurely day at the track.

The final race of the day was a cake walk for Street Game.

The racing is over at Belmont, but fans stick around to catch the Derby on the simulcast.

Kids that are too young to gamble find other ways to entertain themselves.

As the Derby time nears, fans gather around the TVs in the clubhouse.

Gamblers take one last look at the odds, before placing their bets.

Here they go....

Fans are riveted by the action in Louisville.

Sadly, this is where most bets end up ... tossed on the ground in failure.

When it was all over, Animal Kingdom was the champ and Belmont waits for its bid day in June.

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