Are you thinking of planning a celebration for the final jewel of the Triple Crown and not sure where to start? Horse racing watch parties are a lot of fun and hosting one might be easier than you’d expect.
below are a few things to keep in mind as you begin to coordinate your Belmont Stakes watch party or a watch party for any big race day that you’d like to watch with friends away from the racetrack!
1. The 4 W’s – First off, you need to know the basics for the Belmont Stakes: Who, what, when and where. This will help shape the invitations that you send out to your guests so they’ll know when to arrive to your party.
- Who: 3-year-old Thoroughbreds
- What: The 147th running of the Belmont Stakes
- When: Saturday, June 6, 2015
- Where: Belmont Park, Elmont, N.Y.
- NBCSN: Prerace Coverage from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. ET
- NBC: Belmont Stakes coverage 4:30 – 7 p.m. ET
- NBCSN: Post-race coverage 7- 7:30 p.m. E
The post time for the races is approximately 6:50 p.m. ET, so you’ll want to make sure that your guests arrive at least an hour before the main event so they don’t miss any of the action beforehand! For those not on the East Coast, pay attention to the time difference, your watch party will begin earlier (or later) depending on where you tune in from!
2. Know the Contenders – Know the Belmont runners and make sure your guests do, too! Some of your attendees might be faithfully following the entire Triple Crown series, and some might just be getting introduced to the field of horses. Providing sheets or having a bulletin board/poster with the horses who are racing — along with their accompanying post positions — will be a great help to guests. For those guests looking for more detail on the contenders, print out past performances of the horses or use this handy 2015 Belmont Stakes Cheat Sheet made by all of us at Team ABR.
3. Tie in Tradition! – Know a bit of history and see how you can incorporate it into your party. The Belmont Stakes is the grand finale of the Triple Crown. The Triple Crown is the term to describe the series of three of the most well-known races in Thoroughbred racing: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. The Belmont, known as the “Test of the Champion,” is the longest race by distance of the three at 1 1/2 miles and is a true test of endurance, especially for those horses who have raced in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. This year, we hope to make history for the first time in 37 years with American Pharoah, who has won both the 2015 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and will be the overwhelming favorite for the Belmont Stakes. Should he win, he will join only 11 other horses who have swept the three races in the history of U.S Thoroughbred racing Wouldn’t it be awesome to experience racing history?
4. Ways to Wager – If you want to put a little money down that day, but aren’t near an actual racetrack, there are plenty of ways to play the ponies! Check online to find your closest off-track-betting location or, if you feel inclined, you can join one of the many numerous horse racing advance-deposit wagering websites like DerbyJackpot.com, TVG.com, Twinspires.com or xpressbet.com, just to name a few. Or, you could keep it light-hearted and make a bet among your party on who will cross the finish line first. Create your own party pool! What’s a friendly bet between friends? Loser has to clean up the kitchen after the party!
5. Decor – There are many ways to incorporate the race into your party decorations. The Belmont Stakes is sometimes referred to as the run for the carnations, because the winner of the race gets draped with a blanket of white carnations. Head to your local flower shop and grab a bunch of carnations to make centerpieces, or provide flowers to the lady guests as a parting gift! Since the race takes place just outside of New York City, draw some inspiration from the charm of the Big Apple! Also, take a look onto the Belmont Stakes online shop for some specialized accessories like napkins or cups for an extra special touch!
6. Dress – One of the best things about throwing your own party is you get to call the shots on the attire! You could choose to have guests come dressed in their finest fascinators and slacks, or it could be a casual backyard party with sundresses and baseball caps … or a little mixture of both! It’s your watch party. Do what you feel is best.
7. Drink – Of course, what would a horse racing gathering be without a signature cocktail. Most recently, the Belmont Stakes has named their signature cocktail the Belmont Jewel. Here’s the recipe, which was found on the official Belmont Stakes website:
Belmont Jewel Cocktail
- 1.5 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
- 2 oz lemonade
- 1 oz pomegranate juice
Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and serve in a rocks glass or signature Belmont Stakes glass. I made a test run of the Belmont Jewel the other day using these great horse-themed rocks glasses from Crate and Barrel, aren’t these great? (They are currently on clearance if you’d like to buy them, so hurry!)
8. Fun Foods – What better way to stay in an Empire State of Mind than by bringing some of New York’s finest foods to the table at your watch party? Here are links to three suggestions (with recipes) for quick dishes that are sure to be a hit — New York Pizza Roll Ups, Classic Hot Dogs and New York Style Cheesecake Bites:
9. Play DJ – The theme song for the Belmont Stakes is “New York, New York,” which is played during the post parade as the horses are warming up on the track before the race. Head over to Spotify or iTunes and create a personalized playlist filled with classic New York songs – from Frank Sinatra to Billy Joel to Alicia Keys and Jay-Z … there’s plenty of songs to keep the party going well into the night!
10. Have FUN. Planning a party can be a lot of work, so make sure you take the time to enjoy day as well as company of your guests! If you do that, everything else will fall into place!
/ xo, ci /
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