ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Eager fans returned to Belmont Park Saturday for the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes.

Attendance was limited and restrictions were in place.

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Last year, Belmont Park was empty. But more than 11,000 people were there Saturday to watch the horses race.

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It was an exciting change from last year, when no fans were allowed at Belmont Park.

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Everyone who attended Saturday’s race had to show proof of having a COVID vaccine or recent negative COVID test.

While fans are thrilled to return, one nearby business says things are not quite back to normal for them.

“We’re slow than we normally are. We’re very busier in the weekdays than we normally are. It’s crazy,” said Aria Seevaran, manager at Belmont Deli & Grill. “I guess a lot of people didn’t show up. Apparently a lot of people didn’t show up because it’s normally crazy busy.”

The race was a return to normalcy after last year when, for the first time in history, it was the first leg of the Triple Crown after the pandemic upended the schedule.

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CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team