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Major Track Renovation At Yonkers

Published: June 17, 2021 7:51 pm ET

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Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts is seeing the fruition of a major renovation project completed on its 122-year-old historic Yonkers Raceway during the regularly scheduled June racing break.

MGM Resorts invested $500,000 in the regrading and reconstruction of Yonkers Raceway, the first renovation at the track since 2006. MGM Resorts took ownership of Empire City and Yonkers Raceway in January 2019 and this project marks the first major renovation investment the track has seen in more than 15 years.

“We are incredibly proud to make this significant investment in the sport,” said MGM Resorts Northeast Group SVP and Chief Financial Officer Ed Domingo. “We have a strong record of providing one of the safest harness tracks in the country, and this regrading will not only protect that record, but will enhance the competitiveness and excitement of our races. We are committed to upholding the legacy of Yonkers Raceway as one of the premier harness racing venues, not only in the United States but in the world.”

Project preparations began in January 2021 with visits to more than a dozen quarries to identify the perfect track materials to sustain a track that sees more race days than any other track in the country, including during problematic northeast wintery weather conditions. Renovations began Memorial Day weekend and was completed on Wednesday, June 9, the day harness racing fans were welcomed back to the track.

As much as 8,000 tons (16 million pounds) of new surface material, along with 6,000 tons of recycled track material (12 million pounds) and 64 tons of lime (128,000 pounds), paved the way for a new and improved half-mile oval. The entire track was resurfaced and regraded, including raising the turns as much as a foot and placed at 14 degree banks, which is the steepest in the United States at the present time. This was done to improve the racing experience and eliminate any unevenness in certain locations. The resurfacing and regrading transform the track into a more durable surface that will sustain the arduous year-round racing schedule. Upon completion of the track renovation, the photo finish cameras were elevated, and the all-new LED track lighting was adjusted and repositioned to enhance visibility.

The extensive project was completed in just ten days. The renovation team included recognized horse-racing track builder brothers Dan Coon and Greg Coon, sons of the late hall-of-famer Chuck Coon, who have built and maintained other top racing tracks around the country. They worked in partnership with Westchester-based Contractor Montasano Brothers, Delta Electric, LED Connection Company, as well as with Empire City employees including Track Manager Tim Masters, Operating Engineers, Teamsters and Outside Labourers.

Yonkers Raceway is preparing for an exciting schedule of racing this season. Upcoming featured events at Yonkers Raceway include the first two legs of the Triple Crown for three-year-old trotters and pacers on Friday, July 2nd, the $500,000 MGM Yonkers Trot and the $500,000 MGM Grand Messenger Stakes.

Live harness racing takes place at the historic Yonkers Raceway Monday through Friday with a nightly post time of 7:15 p.m.


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