Hob-Knobbing With The Swells – Tales from the Saratoga Springs Horse Racing World

It was a darkish and stormy night time. Whoops, fallacious story. It was the early 1980’s and my girlfriend and I on the time have been hanging out loads with our good pals Rick and Shawna, the unique homeowners of Madame Jumels restaurant in Saratoga Springs, New York. I am unsure what’s there now, however Madame Jumels was on the backside of Caroline Avenue and fairly the favored place in it is day. I used to be a giant fan of the early morning radio present on WPYX hosted at the moment by Bob Mason and Invoice Sheehan, a gnarly pair of shock jocks identified for his or her over-the-top pranks. (It’s now often known as the Wakin’ Up With the Wolf present, hosted by Bob Wolfeld.) They got here up with the thought of getting a Marylou Whitney look-alike contest. For the ill-informed, Marylou Whitney is the widow of millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and a neighborhood celeb, socialite, philanthropist, and all-around good gal. The considered spoofing her in a look-alike contest was greater than I may stand. I got down to speak my pals into becoming a member of the competition.

Rick and Shawna have been extra acquainted than I with Mrs. Whitney as in addition they ran a horse-drawn carriage enterprise that Marylou had used the providers of. The occasion was to happen at Siros, a preferred upscale restaurant and watering gap close to the Saratoga Racetrack. Everybody agreed this may be a blast. As seasoned veterans for a number of years on the notorious Bolton Touchdown Mattress Races on Lake George, we had a good thought on make headlines whereas having a superb time. It is form of a Ratpack factor. Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Angie Dickinson; we had realized from one of the best. Again when males have been males…and booze was your buddy. Rising up within the sixties absolutely had it is advantages. We set about making our technique.

It was determined the horse and carriage would assist make our entrance memorable. As Rick and Shawna can be manning the carriage and I used to be ugly sufficient as a person, not to mention the well-preserved Whitney, that left my girlfriend to be Marylou. The ladies got here up with a flashy robe as one may think Marylou dressing up in for one in all her annual soirées on the Canfield On line casino. Rick and I made a decision on leotards (form of a court-jester look) and lengthy trumpets as a part of our garb and props for our components as “Her Majesty’s” entourage. It was additionally determined that “our” Marylou put on a blond wig and gold tiara, in addition to a rubbish bag “slicker” to imitate a press clipping of the true Marylou carrying the identical throughout a rainstorm on the Saratoga Racetrack. We enlisted a couple of household and pals as “press brokers” sporting fedoras and press passes. We additionally geared up my nephew Ken with a VHS video digital camera, a cumbersome contraption again then as you just about needed to carry a whole VCR on a shoulder strap. With our costumes full, it was time for the large day.

Our gig formally began at 6 a.m., coinciding with the WPYX 6 to 10 a.m. morning drive present. We determined to reach fashionably late (or possibly it was a hangover). Anyhow, our timing turned out to be impeccable as we have been, as I recall, the final contestants to reach. Our horse and carriage pulled up in entrance of Siro’s with as a lot fanfare as we may conjure. The grounds have been filled with spectators in addition to varied guys and gals dressed as Marylou. Rick and I jumped off and rolled out a crimson carpet for our celeb. We did our greatest trumpet rendition of the opening racetrack riff and held “our” Marylou’s palms up as she descended the steps of her carriage. The group went wild. All of the native TV information cameras rushed as much as document the spectacle. We escorted “our” Marylou by the gang as she pressed the flesh and threw faux cash into the air. Rick, Shawna and I remained dutifully in character as we tended to “our” Marylou and fended our manner by a sea of individuals and inside Siros. The reporters scrambled for interviews and “our” Marylou had them consuming out of her hand as she recited: “Trash, flash, money; no one rides totally free.”

We have been led to the desk with the D.J.’s as a side-splitting back-and-forth ensued between the good-natured Mrs. Whitney and our imposter. The judging started and regardless of the various outrageous and great costumes, we received palms down. No brag; simply reality. Mrs. Whitney graciously invited us to cease by her field seats on the monitor later within the day the place we have been promptly thrown out for improper apparel however not earlier than we have been launched to a couple of Marylou’s pals. Our reward? Two all-expense paid airline/lodge tickets to Common Studios in Los Angeles and the L.A. Coliseum for Bruce Springsteen’s Born within the USA tour underneath a heat and moonlit night time.

Marylou Whitney; one hell of a sport.

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