NBC 4 New York
In the wake of April's Boston Marathon Bombings, security at this weekend's Belmont Stakes will be tighter. Spectators will be banned from bringing backpacks, coolers, even umbrellas. Greg Cergol reports on the new changes.
Saturday’s Belmont Stakes on Long Island will have tighter security than in years past, making it the latest major sporting event with stricter policies following the Boston Marathon bombings.
The new rules, which take a lead from those implemented for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, affect fans even before they get near the track.
Tailgating will not be allowed on park grounds, and fans may be searched outside the admission gates.
Authorities say they will use electric wands at all the gates to search for prohibited items.
"We’re gonna do everything we can to maintain the fun level, along with keeping the safety level just as high," said Rodnell Workman, a vice president with the New York Racing Association.
A slew of new items are banned from the race this year including backpacks, coolers, laser pointers, umbrellas, thermoses, camcorders, purses longer than 12 inches in diameter, duffel bags, cameras with detachable lenses or lenses longer than 6 inches, pepper spray or other weapons, tripods and wagons or hand trucks.
As in previous years, alcoholic beverages, fireworks, glass, grills and tents will also be banned.
Race fans seem to be taking the increased security measures in stride.
"We cannot allow the terrorism to ruin our lives and enjoyment," said Robert Acker, who was visiting the track on Thursday.