Gary Contessa and his longtime friend David Cassidy were opposite sides of the same coin.
"David was a rockstar who wanted to be a horse trainer and I am a horse trainer who dabbles in guitar, so it was love at first sight,” said Contessa.
For more than two decades, Contessa trained horses for the former teenage heartthrob and musical icon.
"I never met a man more passionate about horse racing than David Cassidy, never,” said Contessa.
A staple at Contessa's Saratoga barn over the years, Cassidy passed away this past fall at the age of 67.
"When David went to the hospital we were expecting him to be out in a couple of days, so when we heard that he passed away it was crushing, it was crushing,” said Contessa.
Lifelong fan Annette Trotta helped organize a concert in Cassidy's honor on Tuesday night in Saratoga Springs.
It marked the first time his former bandmates took the stage together since his passing.
“David Cassidy called this his favorite place on Earth, so I think it is very appropriate that the band is getting together here for the first time,” said Trotta.
Attracting a large crowd of loyal followers, proceeds from the evening benefit the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, an organization Cassidy passionately supported during his life.
"I’m really glad we got to do this — something he really cared about and I hope we get to keep doing it,” said Matt Sullivan, ‘David Cassidy Band’ guitarist.
As the band took the crowd down memory lane, one of Cassidy's oldest friends — Contessa — managed to find his way on stage with them.
Guitar in hand, it was a chance for Contessa to pay tribute to a man he forged a bond with over music and horses.
"I really think that David is looking down on this and I really think he really appreciates what we are doing for him, as do all of his fans. The fans love David and we love David as well,” said Contessa.