Stolen colt found

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JEFF REYNOLDS, The Saratogian July 28, 2002
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- A group of friends from Schenectady found themselves in the middle of one of Saratoga's biggest mysteries Saturday afternoon.

Saratoga Springs Police Investigator John Catone examines the stolen fiberglass horse discovered and returned by Barbara Blanchard of Schenectady, right, and Julie Smolinski of Trumbull, Conn., left, Saturday. ED BURKE/The Saratogian

 

On a kayaking trip on the Schoharie Creek, Barbara Blanchard and Julie Smolinski noticed a strange shape in the water underneath the Thruway bridge.

It turned out to be the fiberglass horse that had been taken from its concrete base in front of Saratoga Arms on Broadway last Saturday morning.

''From far, far away, we said, 'That looks like a horse in the water,''' Blanchard said. She had read about the recent horse thefts around Saratoga and even remembered seeing this one, named ''"My Petite Fleur,'' which helped her figure out where the horse had probably come from.

The 15-year-old Smolinski, visiting Schenectady from Trumbull, Conn., and Blanchard were separated from the rest of their party, which had stayed behind at the launch site to enjoy the afternoon. Art Edelstein, his daughter, Rachel, and Teresa Kennedy were waiting by the group's parked van for Blanchard to call and tell them when to go meet them.

Kennedy said the group was using two-way radios to communicate, and it had been a while since anything had been heard from Blanchard and Smolinski.

''Barb had just taken Julie out for a kayaking lesson. There was only two kayaks, so we stayed behind,'' Kennedy said.

''I got on the radio and said, 'Barbara, come in. Where are you?' She responded, 'We're having an adventure,''' Kennedy said.

The story of how they found the horse soon followed, and Art Edelstein drove the van to meet the two kayakers and their new friend.

The group returned the brown, flower-covered fiberglass horse to the Saratoga Springs Police Department just after 6 p.m. Saturday.

Lieutenant Edward Moore of the Saratoga Springs Police Department said there was minimal damage to the horse. He said there are still no suspects in its theft.

''These types of cases are difficult to investigate,'' Moore said, ''but we will continue to follow up on it as much as we can.''

He also praised the group for their efforts and said they did everything just as they should have.

''They were kind enough to bring it back to us, which they didn't have to do,'' Moore said.

''My Petite Fleur'' is one of 24 horses put on display by the city, the Saratoga Arts Council, and the YMCA. In recent weeks, several of the horses have become targets of vandalism and theft.

''I just think the people doing this are so mean,'' said Kennedy.

Editorial Piece in the Saratogian

It's sad and embarrassing that so many people have found enjoyment in vandalizing and stealing public art in Saratoga Springs.
From Spit and Spat to the painted horses, there's always someone, local or otherwise, who seems to get a good yuk out of being a jerk.

Luckily, the latest saga of fiberglass horse rustling includes some good guys -- or in this case, good women. Thanks to a couple of alert kayakers, ''My Petite Fleur'' is back home again. Barbara Blanchard and Julie Smolinski found the colt dumped in the Schoharie Creek and with help from some friends, they lugged it back to Saratoga Springs. They don't even live here, but they read about the thefts in the paper and were quick to help out.

It's sure nice to know there are some horse heroes among horse thieves.


WGY Radio

HORSE STATUE FOUND IN CREEK
July 30
"MY PETITE FLEUR" IS HOME. THE FIBERGLASS HORSE SCULPTURE WAS STOLEN FROM SARATOGA SPRINGS EARLIER THIS MONTH. THE HAND-PAINTED SCULPTURE WAS FOUND IN SCHOHARIE CREEK UNDER A THRUWAY BRIDGE. NOW, THE SPA CITY MAY BEEF UP POLICE PATROLS TO PROTECT 22-OTHER HORSE SCULPTURES. MAYOR KEN KLOTZ SAYS THE RECENT SPATE OF THEFT AND VANDALISM HAS ANGERED CITY RESIDENTS. AS FOR "MY PETITE FLEUR ", THE SCULPTURE IS IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE AND WILL BE ON DISPLAY AGAIN SOON.

From Blood-Horse (A horse racing publication)

Horse Stolen From Saratoga Exhibit Found
Date Posted: 7/29/02 3:39:29 PM
Last Updated: 7/29/02 3:39:29 PM

"My Petite Fleur," a 60-pound fiberglass colt who was stolen from its display base in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. on July 20 was discovered floating in Schoharie Creek over the weekend.

According to the Saratogian newspaper, two teenagers on a kayaking trip found "My Petite Fleur" Saturday afternoon and took it to the Saratoga Police Department. The paper reported there was minimal damage to the work of art.

"My Petite Fleur" is one of 24 horses on display as part of the ''Horses, Saratoga Style'' public art project sponsored by the arts council, the city and the Saratoga YMCA. Two other horses have been vandalized since being put on display.

Copyright 2002 The Blood-Horse, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

NY Times
SPORTS DESK | July 29, 2002, Monday
ON HORSE RACING; The Healthy 3-Year-Old Is the Missing Piece

By Joe Drape (NYT)

LEAD PARAGRAPH - One of the Spa's biggest mysteries was solved yesterday afternoon when a pair of kayakers found a painted fiberglass horse floating on Schoharie Creek. The object d'art, titled My Petite Fleur, was one of 24 displayed around town; they have apparently become an inviting target for aesthetically critical horse thieves.

But the pieces for the Spa's other puzzle are a long way from being sorted out. Saratoga's stakes coordinator, Andrew Byrnes, is struggling to rustle up 3-year-olds for next Sunday's Grade II Jim Dandy.

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