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Wildfire smoke clears in time for Belmont Stakes, Brooklyn Pride, Puerto Rican Day parades this weekend

Wildfire smoke clears out of NYC area just in time for weekend events
Wildfire smoke clears out of NYC area just in time for weekend events 02:19

NEW YORK -- Wildfire smoke in the New York City area is clearing out just in time for several big events, including one of the biggest horse races of the year. 

Practice was canceled at Belmont Park on Thursday because the air quality was so bad, but everything is expected to resume as usual Saturday for the Belmont Stakes

"Tens of thousands of people from all over the world are coming to Nassau County for this great athletic event. And we got two great jockeys that we honor here today that are Nassau County residents," said County Executive Bruce Blakeman

Statistically, the Belmont is the safest leg of the Triple Crown. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul introduced enhanced safety measures earlier in the week to protect horses and spectators after smoke from hundreds of wildfires in Canada caused an air quality health advisory. 

"Maintaining the track is the most important thing," said John Velazquez, who won the Preakness Stakes. "More vets, more screening for the horses. It's important. These are the important things to keep both the horses and jockeys safe." 

Hochul said everything can go as planned if the air quality index does not exceed 200. 

In the city, there's a fresh appreciation for clean air among music fans getting ready for the Governors Ball and those who will march in Brooklyn's Pride parade on Saturday. 

"After you've had a full day of activities, what better way to celebrate than having a parade. And as you stated, we start on Lincoln Place at 5th Avenue and we go gayly forward," said Mickey Heller, co-chair of Brooklyn Pride Inc. 

Prideful marchers will also participate in the Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday. 

"We're gonna have a lot of fun being on the avenue marching," said Mayor Eric Adams

On Friday, hundreds celebrated their heritage at a gala. 

"We're at capacity with floats, so we ran out of floats," said Louis Maldonado. "We're expecting a good turnout."

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