Season ticket holders in Section J of the Clubhouse are passing around a cartoon that places Dottie the Sticker Nazi on a par with Vito the parking lot attendant and Duncan the maître d' at the forefront of Saratoga lore. The former white cap passed away during the off-season.
"I'm going to miss her," said one fan, another stickler for law of order. "She kept people in their places and I liked that." Many others, however, disagree. Dottie would make her mother sit in the exact seat assigned even if two hefty guys flanked her on either side while there were dozens of empty seats around them.
The cartoon portrays Dottie with wings, surrounded by others in heaven, talking to St. Peter at the pearly gates. The caption reads, "Some people are sitting on the wrong clouds." It's humor, albeit dark humor, befitting Indian Charlie. Until now, it's been kept underground.
No matter where you were sitting on Sunday, there was something enjoyable, exciting or amusing for everyone. Bobby Flay was invited to call a race and made the most of his rare opportunity. Originally, NYRA's invitation to him went out for the 5 ½ furlong sixth called The Finney. The celebrity chef called the eighth race instead. As fate would have it, the race was won by a horse invoking the ghost of a legendary New York caller.
"They're going into the clubhouse sandwich turn," Flay announced as New York-bred horses in the 1 1/8 miles race established position. "We're three-eighths away from having a cocktail at Siro's," he muttered later. Eventually, Freddy the Cap with Sebastian Morales aboard ended the agony. In the end, Flay received heartier applause than Fred Capossela ever did.
The fifth race was an optional claiming event for $100,000, even though the field was of stakes caliber. The French-bred Bribon surged to the lead in the last furlong, giving Alan Garcia another winner - the third of three on the program. Garcia won the jockey portion of a weekend trainer/jockey competition in the highly-successful Fasig-Tipton Festival. He's tied with Ramon Dominguez for the most wins with only one day to go in the meet's first trimester.
A good-looking bay son of Yes It's True named Aikenite won a 2-year-old maiden special weights race for Dogwood Stable. After Game Face won the grade II Honorable Miss Handicap, Fabulous Strike won the Alfred G. Vanderbilt. A young woman in strapless red dress and red hat won the "Best Turned-Out Filly" fashion contest. The orange and black silks worn by Eurico Da Silva aboard Fatal Bullet received the unofficial prize for the ugliest look.
If you're wondering about "What Not to Wear," they are silks with an upright horse and an upright bear bracketing the incorrectly punctuated phrase "The Bear Stable's." Life goes on.