"Fred," said the reporter, "you just can't get away with this. You've got to go up there and take your medicine. Come on, boy."
"I hate all that fuss," said Egan. "I'm hungry. Get me out. of here or I'll go myself."
So the reporter got some help and shoved the old man into a waiting jeep that took him through the crowd on the track and up to the winner's circle. There in his faded shirt and galluses, surrounded by pretty girls and flowers and a few horse-owning millionaires, Egan heard himself extolled by the governor of Missouri and other speechmakers. He took it as long as he could, slipped away at the first chance and was soon driving away from the track in search of peace and a steak.
As the car rolled along in quiet, it was hard not to ask this silent, thoughtful old man what it was like, at 78, to achieve the greatest triumph of a memorable career. Out of respect and to avoid "fuss," the question was never asked, but Egan sensed it was there, hanging in the silence.
"Well, boy," he said, "all that's left now is to eat and sleep and wait to die."
Don't believe it. He said it with a twinkle, not a sigh. A good bet is that he was thinking of a frail little 2-year-old filly of his named Emily's Star. Emily's Star was in the stall next to her big sister, Emily's Pride, on Hambletonian Day. She couldn't have missed all the hoopla that followed her sister's winning the big race. If it hasn't occurred to her how nice it would be to be the center of attraction in Du Quoin next year, it has to Fred Egan.