SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (NEWS10) – “The first thing people see when they turn off the thruway is this park”, said Marylou Whitney.
That was Marylou Whitney back in August after she and her husband John Hendrickson donated this half million dollar statue to the city of Saratoga Springs.
The horse is Native Dancer, one of the few racehorses to have a winning streak at Saratoga Racetrack.
But on Friday morning, the legend was disgraced when Saratoga Police received a call from a driver around 4:30 a.m.
“Said she’s coming down Union Ave she sees a man sitting on top of the horse, the centennial horse”, said Lieutenant Robert Jillson.
Police said 23-year-olds Julius Simmons and Kenneth Martin climbed on top of the horse, behind the jockey rocking back and forth causing one of the screws to come loose.
Police said the suspects also smashed lights around the statue and ultimately caused around $6,000 worth of damage.
“When we have people who act like this, it’s very discouraging”, said Jillson.
This isn’t the first time horse statues in Saratoga suffered abuse.
Take a look at this surveillance video from 2008 and you can see one person unsuccessfully trying to jump onto the horse.
It’s not until the third person hurdles himself at the statue, eventually taking them both down.
This was all caught on camera, just like the vandalism suspected of Martin and Simmons. They almost cost the city a valuable, visible, symbol.
“There’s a lot of time and effort, not just man hours but a lot of people that are all proponents for this because it’s a positive thing”, said Jillson.