If you've heard Jay-Z's smash single 'Empire State of Mind' a few hundred times like the rest of us, you might recall the Brooklyn rapper declaring himself "the new Sinatra," within the first few lines of the song. Those are undoubtedly big shoes to fill, but officials at the New York Racing Association have given Hov their co-sign.

The NYRA replaced Frank Sinatra's classic 'New York, New York' with 'Empire State of Mind' as the opening tune at the 142nd running of the Belmont Stakes this past Saturday, June 5. The song was performed by teenage singer Jasmine Villegasas the horses were being brought onto the race track at Long Island's Belmont Park. A NYRA official told the Associated Press that the popular tune is the "quintessential 21st century theme song for New York City," making it the obvious choice to replace Sinatra's classic.

This marks the second time that the 'Blueprint 3' single has become the song of choice for a prestigious New York sporting event. 'Empire State of Mind' became the unofficial theme song of the New York Yankees during their World Series run last Fall. Jay-Z and Alicia Keys performed the song during Game Two of the World Series and later at the Yankees championship celebration.

Frank Sinatra's 'New York, New York' has been the opening tune at Belmont since 1997, when it replaced the classic vaudeville song 'Sidewalks of New York.'

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