The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival has bloomed into a nine-day extravaganza, with or without the intensity of the Nyquist vs. Exaggerator rematch on June 11. Here are some of the highlight community events leading into the Stakes finale:
Wednesday, June 8
The Belmont Stakes position draw will be held at Rockefeller Center in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Invitation only, live streaming at www.nyra.com.
Thursday, June 9
The New York Racing Association will kick off the 2016 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival by honoring local civic leaders, elected officials and organizations supporting Nassau County with the Annual Community Day celebration. Live racing commences at 1 p.m. and features three stakes races: the $200,000 Belmont Coronation Invitational, the $200,000 Astoria for 2-year-old fillies and the $150,000 Intercontinental.
Friday, June 10
Live racing commences at 12:50 p.m. and features 11 races and five stakes races. The Taste NY Festival and Food Truck Village will be available all day, in addition to the country music duo Maddie & Tae concert following the day’s races. Then check out the Garden City Belmont Stakes Festival for family activities, food and fun celebrating the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes, on Seventh Avenue in Garden City, from 6 to 10 p.m.
Saturday, June 11
Admission gates open at 8:30 a.m. Live racing commences at 11:35 a.m. and features 10 stakes races, including the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes. Longines “Most Elegant Woman” contest runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the paddock terrace.
The United States Military Academy at West Point musicians will perform the national anthem and pay tribute to servicemen and women in a special performance prior to the running of the Met Mile. Guests will also enjoy a trackside musical performance from the stars of the hit Broadway musical Beautiful. A featured performance by Daughtry is scheduled prior to the running of the Belmont Stakes.
Triple Crown jockey autograph signing: Jockeys Steve Cauthen, Ron Turcotte and Jean Cruguet will be signing autographs for fans on the first floor of the grandstand by the Secretariat mural from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Two food truck festival areas in the backyard and near the top of the stretch will feature more than 30 of the most popular New York-area trucks.
Sunday, June 12
Check out the Floral Park Belmont Stakes Festival for family activities, food, music and fun celebrating the 2016 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. On Tulip Avenue in Floral Park from 2 to 7 p.m.
Belmont Park is located at 2150 Hempstead Tpke. in Elmont. Visit www.nyra.com for more details.