The Belmont Stakes are perhaps the most democratic of the Triple Crown Races, held in Elmont right next to Queens (yes, you read that correctly. It’s an unincorporated Census designated place with no ‘B’ in it at all). Indications of that are they can’t settle on a song or a drink. The song has ranged from Sidewalks of New York, a charming Tin Pan Alley tune better known as East Side, West Side, to the Theme from New York, New York (as performed by Frank Sinatra and appropriated as the Yankees anthem and not the original Liza Minelli rendition), to 2010’s Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z.
I suggest instead the classic Cosmopolitan.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, Cointreau, and cranberry and lime juices. Cover and shake vigorously to combine and chill. Strain the cosmopolitan into a chilled martini glass. Twist the orange zest over the drink and serve.
Note: The drink can also be stirred in a pitcher.
This year is the 151st running as opposed to 145 for the Derby and 144 for the Preakness. At 1 1/2 miles the Belmont is the longest of the Triple Crown races. The Belmont track surface is looser, sandier, and harder to run on than most tracks in the country, also the NYRA is much stricter about “performance enhancement” than most racing associations, my stash of Furosemide will get me arrested and ejected.
Winning a Triple Crown is deliberately difficult. The Kentucky Derby at a One and a Quarter could be considered the “standard” distance while the Preakness at 1 and an Eight could be called a “sprinter’s” track. In Hyper-Modern practice any horse that finished out of the money (1st, 2nd, 3rd) at the Derby skips the Preakness for rest and relaxation and specialized “speed” horses are fielded instead to knock out the tired and weary Derby winner.
Should he win the first two legs they bring back their “tanned and ready” distance colts to crush him in the Belmont.
Horse Racing is kind of a dying sport, like Boxing (remember Muhammad Ali? He was The Greatest), and all The Belmont can muster this year to fill the Field is 10 Horses. Tacitus, Master Fencer, Spinoff, War of Will, and Tax appeared in the Derby with Tacitus finishing highest at 3rd after Maximum Security’s disqualification. Everfast finished 2nd at The Preakness where War of Wills was the winner. War of Will will be the only Horse to compete in all three legs of this year’s Triple Crown.
Joe Drape likes Tacitus, Intrepid Heart, and War of Will; Melissa Hoppert gives Tacitus, War of Will, and Sir Winston the nod.
Post time on NBC is around 6:30 ET