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Cocktail of Choice: Black-Eyed Susan (Grand Marnier, white Creme de Menthe and brandy).

Info: Preakness, 877-206-8042, www.marylandracing.com.


When: June 9 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

Getting There: By car, take I-95 north to the Staten Island Expressway, then Verrazano Bridge to Belt Parkway east, to Cross Island Parkway north to Exit 26-D (about 245 miles). Other options: Fly into JFK or LaGuardia, about 12 miles from the track; or take the Long Island Rail Road from New York's Penn Station.

Admission: You can't get the $5-$10 reserved clubhouse and grandstand seats (mail-in requests for the lottery-selected seats were due March 31), but general admission tickets for $2 (grandstand) or $4 (clubhouse) can be bought on race day.

Where to Stay: Many of the big names in racing tuck down at the Garden City Hotel (45 Seventh St., Garden City, 800-547-0400); rates for a double room over the nightclub (expect the disco beat till 2 a.m.) are $209. You can also stay in Manhattan and take the train to the races, or book a room at an airport hotel.

Inside Track: Grab the bubbly, find a spot by the paddock and toast the horses as they get saddled up for the big race . . . Belt out "New York, New York," sung just before the gun goes off.

Cocktail of Choice: The White Carnation has been replaced by the Belmont Breeze, a whiskey punch.

Info: Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-441-4601, www.licvb.com; Belmont Park, 718-641-4700, www.nyra.com. -- Andrea Sachs

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