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Renovated LIRR Station Promising Better Ride For Belmont Stakes Fans

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- With thousands expected at Belmont Park on Saturday to watch American Pharoah make a run for the Triple Crown, officials are promising a smoother ride thanks to a new Long Island Rail Road station officially opening on Thursday.

Last year, some fans waited more than three hours to catch a train home on the LIRR after the big race.

EXTRA: Guide To The Belmont Stakes | PHOTOS: American Pharoah's 1st Look At Belmont Park

New York Racing Association President Christopher Kay told CBS2 on Sunday that $5 million has been invested to renovate the Belmont Park station.

Renovated LIRR Station Promising Better Ride For Belmont Stakes Fans

"There are also new procedures in place, such that they believe people will be able to get home in half the time it took them last year," he said.

The renovated station officially opened Thursday with new platforms to accommodate more train cars along with new stairways, signage and a public address system.

"Every train that leaves here will have 25 percent more capacity this year than those trains last year. So they will be bigger trains carrying more people leaving more frequently," LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski told reporters, including WCBS 880's Sophia Hall.

Renovated LIRR Station Promising Better Ride For Belmont Stakes Fans

Even with the improvements, Nowakowski warns delays getting out of Belmont Park could run upward of two hours, 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported.

"Don't be in a rush to get in; don't be in a rush to get out," said Nowakowski. "Come out and enjoy the day."

Racetrack managers have also put an attendance cap of 90,000 on the event, which should also help ease congestion on the rails.

Organizers hope two races after the Belmont Stakes and a post-race concert by the Goo Goo Dolls will keep people from trying to leave all at once.

For more information about LIRR service to the big race, click here.

Fans have high hopes for American Pharoah, who jogged around the track first time Wednesday.

The colt drew post position No. 5 for Saturday and owners, father and son Ahmen and Justin Zayet from New Jersey, were not complaining.

The younger Zayat just graduated from NYU and says they're blessed American Pharoah has this opportunity.

"My wildest dreams, never thought I'd be here," he said.

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