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Frank Sinatra tune gets nod over Jay-Z anthem for 2011 Belmont Stakes

June 3, 2011 |  8:38 am

Katy Perry's "California Gurls" is pretty modern and hip, but chances are it will never replace Randy Newman's "I Love L.A." as the unofficial theme song at pretty much every sporting event around here.

Perhaps the folks at Belmont Park learned a similar lesson last year when the horses stepped onto the track for the Belmont Stakes to "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys rather than Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York," which had played before the event since 1997.

The New York Racing Assn. has decided to return to the Sinatra tune for $1-million race on June 11, despite the fact that a year ago the association's marketing director, Neema Ghazi, declared the Jay-Z/Keys hit a "quintessential 21st century theme song for New York City."

The decision was announced Friday; no reason was given for the switch.

No word on how Billy Joel, who has a pretty good New York anthem of his own, feels about all this.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.