To some it was the Taj Mahal of horse racing, a spectacular, bucolic oasis on the Nassau-Queens border where bettors could lose themselves in the glory and excitement of thoroughbreds galloping down the stretch.
But in recent years, Belmont Park Race Track has fallen onto hard times, as attendance dwindles, the grounds decay and politicians and residents grumble that the institution is out of touch with the surrounding community.
Betting on Belmont's future
Now all that is poised to change dramatically with a major redevelopment plan that could reshape Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga, New York's premier tracks, and spark a new race for millions of dollars in revenue from electronic gaming. Some officials want to bring in a form of casino-like gambling by installing thousands of video lottery terminals at Belmont and possibly the other two tracks. The proposal may include upscale restaurants and luxury hotels.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer is set to announce on Tuesday his recommendation for which of the four bidding organizations should be awarded the job. It's unclear if the lottery machines also would be installed at Aqueduct and Saratoga, or whether horse racing would continue at all three tracks.
Here are some of Eliot's options.
Photo from Newsday