Not unlike the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, the Belmont Stakes has its own unique character.
Top photo: belmontstakes.com
The Belmont Stakes is traditionally called “The Test of The Champion” or “Run for the Carnations” because the winning horse is blanketed with white carnations.
Through 1996, the post parade song was “Sidewalks of New York”. From 1997 to 2009, the audience was invited to sing the “Theme from New York, New York” following the call to the post. In 2010, the song was changed to a solo version of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” before reverting back to “Theme from New York, New York” for 2011 through the present. This tradition is similar to the singing of the state song at the post parades of the first two Triple Crown races: “My Old Kentucky Home” at the Kentucky Derby and “Maryland, My Maryland” at the Preakness Stakes.
Despite the fact that the Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the Triple Crown races, its traditions have been more subject to change. The switch of theme song from “The Sidewalks of New York” to “New York, New York” was an attempt to appeal to younger fans.That same year the official drink was also changed, from the “White Carnation” to the “Belmont Breeze.” The New York Times reviewed both cocktails unfavorably, calling the Belmont Breeze “a significant improvement over the nigh undrinkable White Carnation” despite the fact that it “tastes like a refined trashcan punch.”In 2012, the official drink was changed once again to the “Belmont Jewel“:
Here’s a recipe from the Belmont website:
More longstanding traditions are the trophy and blanket of flowers. The winning owner is ceremonially presented with the silver winner’s trophy, designed by Paulding Farnham for Tiffany and Co. It was first presented to August Belmont, Jr. in 1896 and donated by the Belmont family for annual presentation in 1926. The winning horse is draped with a blanket of white carnations after the race, in similar fashion to the blanket of roses and black-eyed susans for the Derby and Preakness, respectively.
Source: Wikimedia Creative Commons