Mercifully, television and radio news about Brin was almost non-existent, as the Los Angeles Dodgers were World
Series contenders, and a new Polish pope had been elected. Mike didn't think he'd have to deal with being blind-sided
by pundits. He also didn't want to be at the house, so he reported in for work--routine and companionship possessed
healing qualities. Cap and crew were elated to have him back.
The shift had gone quietly until the close of the evening news. Everyone was at the kitchen table discussing
the World Series; Chet was cooking. Mike felt the squiggle in his stomach, and the sensation of the hair on his neck
rising. Oh, what now?! he pondered.
"And in closing, from our sister station in Louisville, Kentucky, a tribute to the late jockey Sabrina Stanley-Stoker."
"WHAT?" he exlaimed as he headed for the TV.
The Bee Gee's How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? started playing. Cap pushed a chair up under Mike, who
plopped down without looking where he was sitting.
I can think of younger days Mike & Brin's
When living for my life was wedding photos
Everything a man could
want to do
I could never see tomorrow Chief Steward Willis
But I was never told about with left hand on
the sorrows. head,
twitched, in video
And how can you mend Brin face down
a broken heart? on
the turf course
How can you stop the rain Sabrina's Posse
From falling down? in
tears at track
How can you stop the sun Brin holding up
from shining? KY
What makes the world Mike &
Brin in post-
go round? Derby
How can you mend
"The Wail Heard
this broken man?
'Round the World"
How can a loser
Southland Derby jocks
looking back at Brin
Please help me mend Dr. Brackett,
my broken heart, and spaced-out Mike
let me live again.
heading for limo at
I can still feel the breeze Clip of Brin "breezing"
that rustles through the a horse on the track
And misty memories of Clip of Brin galloping
days gone by, on
We could never see Silouette
Tomorrow, no one and
flowers with sun
Said a word about the behind them
How can you mend
Brin's family at the
a broken heart?
How can you stop the Crying fans on
rain from falling down? KY 245 at cemetary
How can you stop the Brin & Nellie
sun from shining?
What makes the world Brin with bouquet of
susans and carnations
And how can you mend Mike bent over casket
this broken man?
at the Committal
How can a loser
Crying Welles & Williams
crouched & embracing
at the Committal
Please help me mend Wide view of
my broken heart
and let me live again from
Appearing next was a photo of Brin as a very small child, her father holding her with both hands at the waist, her
left hand on her father's fire chief's helmet which she wore, followed by the various sympathy signs seen by 51's crew
when in Bardstown.
Please help me mend Sign over front
my broken heart
county courthouse "MAY
and let me live again SABRINA'S PERPS
The closing picture was Brin in Gage's racing silks, standing with her left shoulder to the camera, arms crossed, downturned
crop in right hand. At the bottom of the photo appeared the words:
JOCKEY SABRINA STANLEY-STOKER
When Mike saw Sabrina's dates, he let out a cry, and started shaking violently with sobs. Henry started howling.
Cap led Mike to the dorm, where the latter fell face down on his bunk, bawling.
"Harold must've had something to do with that, since the family photos were used," Cap said, sitting next to Mike, with
a hand on his heaving back. "I get the feeling they were meaning for that video to stay in Kentucky, and not be broadcast
over here. Let me call my wife and see what she can find out."
After Cap got up to go the phone, Mike sat up, put his elbows on his knees, and his face in his hands. "I
have no idea what her grave marker looks like. They sprang on me that she was going to be buried in Kentucky.
And now this."
"I'll see what I can do about that," Cap promised. "I know they weren't doing anything out of malevolence.
Why don't you go get some supper?"
Without a word, Mike went to the locker room, splashed his face with cold water, and returned to the kitchen. Cap
walked in a few minutes later and sat next to him, their backs to the TV. Mike inhaled Chet's Irish Stew. He didn't
realize he was so hungry.
"Wanna do something on Friday, Mike?" Marco asked.
"I have rehab," Mike said with a stony voice.
"How's your heart?" asked Roy.
"It always hurts. Or at least the space it used to occupy before it was obliterated hurts," Mike replied bitterly.
Ouch! Marco mouthed looking at the paramedics, who nodded in agreement.
Roy leaned over to Mike. "I just thought I'd warn you that they're doing "man on the street" interviews about Brin,
and they're likely to pop up at any time."
Mike nodded with his entire upper body. "Thanks."
"Ah, I think she just fell off the horse," said a man on the TV.
"She didn't fall off that horse!" Mike growled as he stood up. "My wife was MURDERED!" he shouted at the
Jockey George Welles. Figures. What an idiot. Mike sat back down at Cap's insistence. A fireball
welled up in his stomach, and he thought he'd lose his supper for sure. He put a hand over his mouth.
"Miiike!" said the paramedics, getting up.
"Sit back," said Roy as he took Mike's wrist and put it against the man's chest.
"I'm okay," he protested. "I've never liked that particular jock. The man makes me ill."
Chet and Marco brought in the paramedics' equipment. Mike looked puzzled.
"We have our standing orders from Dr. Brackett," they said.
The next morning, Cap was looking through the paper with a particular feeling of urgency that there was something he
needed to see. One of the sections seemed to almost open by itself to the back page. A full-page ad declared in
TO THE PERPETRATORS
OF THE MURDER OF SABRINA
HEAR ME, YOU CRIMINALS!
IF THERE IS ANY JUSTICE
HEAVEN, ANY EYE FOR
THINGS, MAY GOD
YOU THE DUE REWARD
AND UNSTINTINGLY SHOW
HIS GRATITUDE FOR THIS
MOST MONSTROUS CRIME
YOU HAVE COMMITTED --
ME WITNESS MY
FOULING A FATHER'S EYES
LIKE THIS WITH THE SIGHT
FATHER OF THE LATE
Adapted from Virgil's Aeneid
Cap whistled. You don't cross my brother, he thought.
The phone rang; Mike answered it as he came in the door.
"Sure, I'll be there," he said. "Thanks." He hung up.
Cap, still leaned over the table, supported on his hands, looked quizzically at Mike.
"The detectives are coming over sometime today," he said.
"Maybe we can get somewhere with the investigation," said Cap.
The detectives were waiting for Mike when he got home.
"Who killed my wife and why?" he asked when he met them on the sidewalk to the front door.
"Unfortunately, we don't have an answer to either question," said Mundelein. "But the sooner we get started, the
faster the case gets solved."
Once inside, the detectives studied the house. "Brin built in these double doors in case she ever ended up using
a wheelchair," Mike explained tearfully. The double front doors opened into a foyer with a table under a large wedding
photo on the left. The living room was to the right, and was furnished like a colonial parlor, complete with fireplace.
The foyer opened directly into an area with cathedral ceiling--complete with fire pole--and angled kitchen bar.
Beyond that was the den area. At the top of the open stairway on the right was the entrance to the master bedroom.
At the foot of the stairs was a hallway leading to other rooms of various sizes, to include a guest bedroom.
The detectives noticed that the double doors of the master bedroom were closed, and that an alcove on the other side
of the living room wall held a single bed and small table with clock and Brin photo. The closeup photo
of Brin showed her in silks and in the saddle, sans pixie braids and helmet. She was looking to her
left; her hair seemed to be blowing in the wind; and her right hand was in midair.
"Almost looks like she's preparing for a dismount," said Peaches.
The detectives heard sniffles behind them and turned around. Mike stood silently, tears pouring down his face.
"We need to get started," said Mundelein. The detectives moved toward the open area. Mike walked over to
the picture, picked it up, and held it to his heart as he walked to the den. He sat in the recliner. The
detectives sat on the couch. The house had an ocean view, but the blinds were closed.
"First off, we've received a very interesting lead," started Mundelein. Secondly, did your wife ever receive
any calls in the middle of the night telling her how to ride?"
"Not that I know of. I answered the phone when I was here. The phone's on my side of the bed. We had
an answering service cover for her when I was at work. She was a very sound sleeper."
"Answering service?" asked Peaches as she took notes.
"Yes, ma'am. That was in case she did get any of those calls, the operators could remember more information about
the voice, background noise. . . you know what I mean."
"Exactly," said Mundelein. "So the answering service never reported any such calls?"
Mike shook his head.
"What was her schedule like?" asked Mundelein.
"She was up at 3:30 every morning, to get to the track by 4:30. Works didn't start until 6am, when the track paramedics
Mike looked imploringly at the detectives. "Have you established a motive yet?"
"At this point, I don't want to jump to any conclusions. Did your wife have any enemies at the track?"
"She may have had, but she never mentioned anyone with any particular antipathy toward her. We were soulmates.
She would've told me if there was a problem. I could tell if something was bugging her, and she. . ."
Mike started crying uncontrollably again. He pulled her wedding ring hanging from a chain from under his shirt,
and holding it in his right hand, held it to his forehead. When he stopped for breath, he said haltingly, "She could
practically read my thoughts."
Peaches and Mundelein looked at each other, fighting their own emotions.
"You mentioned that she was at the track extremely early in the morning, and that the works started at six," Mundelein
stated. "Why did she have to be there so early?"
"Women have to work twice as hard as the men on the backside. She was doing grooming jobs for some trainers, before
the morning works. Then she'd become exercise rider and gallop for whomever would hire her. If she was racing
later in the day, she might've had a prep work with the horse. After the works, she'd have to report to the jock's room
if she was riding."
"You mean she still had to do all that even after winning the Triple Crown? I thought she had earned her ticket to
ride any horse anywhere in the world after that," asked Peaches.
"She still reported in early to show solidarity with her racing sisters. She was the jockey queen--she just about
"What time did she have to be in the jock's room?" asked Peaches.
"An hour and a half before post time. I guess you know she had her own quarters across and down the hall from the
guy jocks' room. If she were riding in only the last race of the day, she had a very long wait, but she was sequestered,
and could accept or make phone calls only in case of an emergency. Interviews had to be pre-arranged with Public Relations."
"What did she do in the jock's room to pass all that time?" asked Mundelein.
"Do her 'homework'--reading the racing form charts to see what she was up against--read; take a nap; watch TV; listen
"We took all of her gear and possessions from the jock's room. Was she taking any classes outside of work?" asked
Mike shook his head. "She didn't have the time. Up at 3:30am, in bed at 7:30pm. When we had time together,
I was making sure it was quality time."
"Reason I ask is we found a psychology textbook among her things. Had the name "V. Williams" in it."
"Oh, that's Rooster, one of the guy jocks. She may have borrowed it for whatever reason."
"Did she have any problems with any of the guy jocks?" asked Mundelein.
"George Welles annoyed the heck out of her. I can't stand the guy myself. He actually said on TV today that
Brin FELL off the horse?"
Peaches and Mundelein frowned at each other.
"How did you and Brin meet?" asked Peaches.
Mike had to gather his thoughts. "She moved her tack to Paradise Park from Kentucky when Gage invited her to ride
Nellie. . ."
Swoon. . .