Sinatra’s voice returns to Belmont Stakes
NEW YORK — Sinatra is “king of the hill’’ again at the Belmont Stakes.
The New York Racing Association is returning to Frank Sinatra’s classic version of “New York, New York’’ when the horses step onto the track for next Saturday’s $1 million race at Belmont Park.
The decision was announced yesterday, a year after NYRA replaced Sinatra’s tune with the Jay-Z/Alicia Keys rendition of “Empire State of Mind.’’
No reason was given for the return to “New York, New York,’’ which had greeted the post parade of horses from 1997-2009. At the time of the change last year, NYRA marketing director Neema Ghazi said “Empire State of Mind’’ was a “quintessential 21st century theme song for New York City.’’
“Sidewalks of New York’’ was performed before the Belmont Stakes until Sinatra took charge in ’97. NYRA issued a news release to trumpet the return of ol’ blue eyes’ voice to the Belmont.
Composed by John Kander, with lyrics by Fred Ebb, “New York, New York’’ is the theme song from the 1977 Martin Scorsese film by the same name. The song did not become a hit until Sinatra performed it at a 1978 concert. He later recorded it on an album.
The Belmont is expected to feature Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and Preakness winner Shackleford. And just before post time at 6:35 p.m., Sinatra’s voice will be back on “top of the heap.’’