At the stairway Vasquez stopped.
"Well?" Whiteley said.
Vasquez looked away. "She a racehorse all the way," he answered.
"I can see that, goddamit! That's not what I'm asking you!"
"What?" Vasquez put on a schoolboy's expression, wide-eyed and slightly wounded.
Whiteley was not fooled. "You goddam little son of a bitch! I oughta kick your butt! You know damn well what I mean!" He glared down at him. "What the hell did you hit her for?"
"Oh, that." The jockey hesitated, then he told the truth: "I just wanted to see what she would do."
"Hey, Vasquez, where'd that horse come from?" someone called out as he walked into the jocks' room. "She was really something!"
Vasquez snapped the rubber bands at his wrists, seemingly absorbed in the act of taking off his shirt. "She not bad," he shrugged. But when Bracciale caught his eye, Vasquez grinned. "What I tell you?" Vasquez said, and you could hear the strut in his voice.
He was not riding in the fourth race, so he grabbed his robe and went off to sit by himself for a while. His thoughts crowded together; he was a thinker, but one who did not necessarily want to think about how Ruffian had stirred up some of his deepest feelings, his most private dreams. Many of these feelings would never be shared with anyone, because that was the way he was. Some, perhaps, would remain hidden forever, even from himself.