Price Bell is a man of many talents. He is sixth generation horseman and excellent bloodstock agent. He has a vision to help bring the racing game into the 21st century and beyond. He is an incredibly nice guy and has been a fine addition to the Paddock Bar crew the past couple of seasons. But friends, I have to tell you, there is one thing he is not very good at: taking care of his wedding ring.
Price got married to the love of his love, Beth, a mere 60 days ago. So perhaps it’s understandable that, as a newly married guy, that the band of gold around his finger doesn’t feel all that natural yet. The scene was Wednesday, upstairs at the Secret Spot, and Price was fidgeting with the thing. A couple of minutes later, there was a look of profound horror on his face. He had inadvertently plucked the ring off his finger and it had somehow rolled away and fallen through the wooden floorboards. The odds of this occurring were at least 1000-1. But more important, the odds of newly married Price surviving explaining to his bride that he’d lost his wedding ring were a lot longer than that. After all, while Price would never do this, you have to imagine there is a certain subset of guys over the years who have, ahem, “taken off” their wedding rings around these parts for more duplicitious purposes. . .
So what did we do? We did what any good friends would do: we got to work. Not since the fellowship of the nine has this much effort gone into safeguarding a ring.
John attempted to spot the thing between the floorboards. Ken went looking for help. I went running around the track looking for a wire hanger (sort of an anti-Joan Crawford mission). I eventually found a bored, young, Irish NYRA employee who helped find both a hanger and a flashlight. When we got back to the Secret Spot, Desiree was already there with a hanger, and she and John worked diligently together trying to identify and hook the ring, not an easy task. Price somehow kept his outward calm through all of this, but you could tell on the inside he was a wreck, trying to compose an impossible conversation in his head.
Just when the ring was on the hanger and it looked like all was well, a new problem cropped up. The space between the boards was wide enough for the ring to fall through, but not wide enough to pull back up with the extra diameter that the hanger created. I started to wonder if I could sneak a circular saw into the Paddock Bar. The Irish kid suggested we try a pencil and some bubble gum. These idiotic ideas were correctly dismissed.
It was Desiree who came to the rescue (doesn’t she always?). She went back downstairs behind the bar and grabbed a plastic garbage tie, the diameter of which was much smaller than the hanger. She and John deftly manuevered the ring (still under the floor boards) on to the tie, slid the hanger out and. . .they were *thisclose* to unearthing the ring, but the tie was starting to stretch. A jiggle here, a wiggle there, just a touch of brute force and KABOOM! John managed to pop the ring out in one final effort before the tie broke.
The color returned to Price’s face, his look of relief palpable. The Irish kid suggested Price put the ring in a safety deposit box. I volunteered to go Five Points to get some Krazy glue. These idiotic ideas were correctly dismissed.
I was certain the good karma would propel me to the top of the leaderboard in the Saratoga Handicapping Challenge. Unfortunately, that part didn’t work out so well. But we did manage to scare up an extra wristband so John, Price, Ken and I, along with Desiree, got to enjoy a few rounds of beers and tacos sitting at our usual perch at The Paddock Bar, courtesy of the Saratoga Handicapping Challenge cocktail party. Proof once again that it often pays dividends to introduce the wrong people to the wrong people and then sit back and blog about what happens.
Race 8: $50 win and place on #5 PELIPA
This turf bred filly ran nicely on off-dirt last time and could step up again off the layoff. She’s not far behind the best of these on figures and I feel like the last work and presence of Johnny V suggest she’ll be up to the challenge again today.
MEET TO DATE RESULTS: Banked $150 yesterday to reduce the deficit to -$971.25