Wedding Bells Ring

The police blotter in the newspaper is what all the guests at Carmel Grey’s 75th birthday party were talking about when Grey, a visitor from Indianland, South Carolina, returned from the racetrack to her son Ken’s house for the surprise event, held earlier this closing week.

Granted, to delight in somebody else’s troubles may be a little twisted. But like fiction, the best of fact can’t be planned or made up.

Allegedly, two men participated in an intimate event on the post office steps at 4:25 am.  It was reported that another man caused a crowd to gather when he tried to push over a mounted policeman’s horse outside a Caroline Street bar.

Saratoga Springs isn’t lawless, mind you.  But the city has a natural giddiness, which comes about as a byproduct of stimulus. This sport, in particular, becomes a wasted experience once the party disappears, thus the importance of fixing the attendance problems.

To make the most of its remaining days, Saratoga will cram giveaway tote bags, a barbecue contest, Fan Appreciation Day and at least six more stakes in the spread of Saturday through Monday.  Today there were two stakes.  It was the second of two Sunset Racing days, so, for a change, the brunt of the crowd caught both features.  

The second would have been the $80,000 With Anticipation Stakes, a 1 1/16 mile turf race for 2-year-olds.  A $340,000 Stormy Atlantic colt named Bittel Road, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by J.R. Velasquez, got the decision over Skipadate. A lone filly, named High Cry, looked threatening at the top of the stretch and then faltered.

In the earlier stakes, there is a discrepancy regarding its name.  Although the Daily Racing Form had listed the restricted 1 1/8 mile race for fillies and mares the $80,000 Clifton Park, the program referred to it as the Love Sign.  Whichever name you prefer, Godolphin’s Cocoa Beach, the 3-5 favorite, made his North American debut a victorious effort.

There were three winners of the fourth race, one equine and two human.  Kays and Jays snapped the winless streak of number one post position horses in 5 ½ furlong turf sprints at 21.  Jim Barbetta and Michelle Mattiske, winners of the track’s Race to the Altar promotion, exchanged wedding vows in the winner’s circle immediately before Kays and Jays won, and stayed put to present Zayat Stables with a trophy.

By the way, Mattiske looked chi-chi in her strapless ivory satin gown with beaded netting and up-do hair style.  Ten attendants, five in black laced-bodice dresses, plus 18,195 fans, witnessed Minister Robyn Posson, read the lyrics of a Diamond Rio song called “I Know How the River Flows.”

As for other goings-on, the opener ended in a dead heat.  Mayor Scott Johnson gave the key to the city to Scott Blasi, representing Horse of the Year Curlin’s co-owners - Stonestreet Stable and a court-appointed receiver. John Kimmel, with only one winner entering Saturday, saddled three.

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