Before the fourth race, we went down to the paddock to watch MacPhail's trainer, Frank Whiteley Jr., saddle Royal Voyage. MacPhail talked to the jockey, to Whiteley, nothing of consequence being said, nothing much being expected of Royal Voyage. When the horses were led out, we started out after them and then, suddenly, MacPhail grabbed my arm.
"Wait a minute!" he cried. "There's a guy over there I want to needle a little bit. Come on!" Still holding my arm in a viselike grip, he hustled me along like a bouncer ejecting an undesirable patron from a barroom. When we had reached the man he had indicated, he thrust me in front of him, then knocked me slightly to one side with a jab from his elbow. I steadied myself as MacPhail put his chin close to the face of the man, a powerfully built citizen who drew back just a little and averted his eyes. Reaching for my coat collar, MacPhail grasped it tightly and pushed me back and forth as he addressed the man.
"Say," he cried, "I happened to be walking behind you coming out of here the other day and I was very surprised, very surprised and shocked to overhear you using some very bad language!"
The man drew back his chin and glanced around nervously. "Don't know what you're talking about," he said.
"Why, yes," MacPhail went on, darting a glance at me. "I couldn't believe my ears. I thought a man like you never used strong language. But this was just terrible. You used some very bad words."
"Must have been somebody else," the man said. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Oh, yes, you do," said MacPhail, "and I just wanted you to know how disappointed and how shocked I was to hear such terrible language coming from a man like you." He turned away, releasing my coat collar. The man turned and vanished into the crowd. MacPhail exploded with laughter, and drawing back his arm he delivered me a resounding whack on the seat of the pants. As I staggered forward, I managed to blurt out over my shoulder, "Who was that?"
"Oh, he testified against me in the hearing before the racing commission," MacPhail said as we started for the box, "after that trouble at Bowie. He said I used some bad words in an argument."
I drew out my notebook and consulted it swiftly. "Was that Alan T. Clarke of Clarksville or J. Yancey Christmas of Marlboro?"
"That was Christmas," said MacPhail, starting back to the clubhouse.