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Memories & Memorabilia, Written by Patrick Masterpalo

“A Seat With A View”

I, like most horse racing fans, have accumulated a number of stories over the years. I wanted to share one of my favorites.

I guess you could say being a horse player is in my blood. My dad moved from Staten Island to Middletown, NJ, at my mothers request. As he would say, “I told your mother I will only move to Jersey if we live in Monmouth County (just had to be near a track).”

When I was around 8 years old, my Dad began taking me to the track on Saturdays (probably to give my mother some time to herself). I would sit with a group of guys in section 16 of the Monmouth Park grandstand. Sorry for the intro, now to the story. One day I decided I wanted to go to the Preakness (goal being hit all legs of the Triple Crown). The year was 2005.

I purchased a couple of tickets with friends of mine for $20. These tickets gave us access to only the first floor. I could not even view the races or go outside. So I spent most of the day held up in a little corner watching Monmouth and the Preakness card on two TV’s buried in the only desolate corner at the track. My friends were out and about drinking and hobnobbing.

A guy in a suit approached where I was standing and began to watch Monmouth with me. So happens we were cheering for the same horse. We struck a conversation about the day and he informed me he was taking his son to the track for the first time. I shared with him the story of how I started and he was on his way. That occurred probably around the 3rd race.

The day went on and I continued to drink and hang out in my little nook. A little boy came up to me one race before the Preakness and tapped me on the leg. I asked if he needed help. He says, “I am leaving and my dad wanted me to give you these passes.” I thanked him and he was on his way. The pass was unclear as to where I was allowed to go, but being bored of my nook and not seeing any live racing I decided to wander around and try to get outside.

I went to the grandstand and asked if I could sit there, as I showed an usher my pass. The usher said, “sure you can, but why would you want to?” I asked what he meant. He said, “well let me show you to your seat.”  He escorted me (in a pair of shorts, sneakers and a polo) to the finish line about 5 rows back. All the trainers were there. My mouth hit the floor (I was like a kid on Christmas).

I ended up watching what I deem to be one of the most impressive Preakness wins ever, watching Afleet Alex fall to his knees and draw off. I have no idea who that man was. What I was reminded of, that I always knew, is that horse racing people and fans are some of the best on the planet.

We thank Patrick for sharing his story! You can follow him on Twitter at @Pmasterpalo

If you’d like to share your awesome race story on Memories & Memorabilia, just send a brief description of your special moment or item (along with a photo, if possible) to Dan@DanonymousRacing.com. 


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