The horses went out on the course, and for the first time that day at Hidden Valley spectators saw a touch of genuine class: one of the horses had an outrider! There he was, Stan Goble, all 235 pounds of him, giving last-minute instructions to the jockey and last-minute encouragement to the horse. Stan and his saddle horse led Little Bopper all the way to the starting gate and then backed off to watch.
"Blondie's in the gate," Ron Stull's amplified voice intoned across the meadow. "Weigh Behind's in. There's Little Bopper in the gate. Here's Jay Bar Do ready to come a-runnin'. Watch these horses break outa this gate like a bat outa Carlsbad.... And here they come! Blondie broke out on top, Jay Bar Do second on the inside, Little Bopper third. Weigh Behind last.... Here they come around the far turn, and it's Blondie on the inside, and here comes Jay Bar Do on the outside, Little Bopper in the middle and making a move! As they come down the stretch it's Blondie out in front by two lengths, and now Little Bopper's taking Jay Bar Do! Blondie is the winner in 33.8 seconds, and second is Little Bopper!
Stan Goble galloped down the track to retrieve his horse, glorious second-place finisher in a glorious race! The track broke precedent and allowed the place horse to stand in the winner's circle for an official Polaroid photo. Marvin Scott and first-place Dee Van 2, also doing business as Gabby and Blondie, were all but forgotten. Stan stood to one side for the ceremony and talked to his horse. "Hold your head up!" he instructed. "You're a celebrity now!" Stan said he was a little overexcited "because a lot of the guys at the plant want to get in on this horse, but they just wanted to wait to see how this race turned out." Stan said he didn't think he would quit his job yet, but that the horse business showed promise. Then he threw a fancy blanket over Little Bopper and remained conspicuously in the infield, hot-walking his horse, while other bush trackers shouted, "Nice race, Stan! Looked good, Stan! Gonna be a winner, Stan!" The world's happiest hot-walker, outrider, trainer, owner and stock clerk said he figured that Little Bopper had every opportunity to become a scorpion.
Later Ron Stull and Bill Rowland were putting together some figures in the tiny track office. The total receipts were $399, of which $218 was returned to the horsemen. They figured there were about 300 spectators in all, give or take a hundred or so, and the admission fee was $1, but most of the spectators were also horsemen and, for each horse brought into the track, two horsemen were allowed in free, so the gate receipts on this brisk fall day were not going to brighten Bill Rowland's retirement plans. The total gross profit, before paying the folks at the soft-drink stand and the ticket-takers at the entrance and various other employees, was $181.
As for Stan Goble and his syndicate, they had won $18 for placing in the fifth race, but their entry fee had been $17 and their jockey fee another $5; so each syndicate member wound up losing 50� on the day, or, as Stan Goble put it, "a lot less'n we'd a spent if we'd a gone bowling."
Just as the last glimmer of day disappeared behind the sorghum field to the west, Gabby Scott wobbled into the track office and informed the officials that he was awful tired of fighting his horse and his headache and wondered if he could get paid off. "I got a long way to drive tonight," he explained. He had won two first-place purses, plus a $10 side bet on Blondie, for a profit of $60, which he would have to split later with his partner. For that, he had driven 300 miles hauling two horses, slept two nights in his camper, spent all his pocket money in the Brown Wheel and almost got gutted by the tall Texan that is, the tall Arizonan. As he walked in his rolling gait back to his camper and his two-horse van, Gabby said he did not begrudge Hidden Valley Downs all his time and expense and trouble. Hidden Valley Downs needed him, he said, and he needed Hidden Valley Downs, and anything that he could do to help racing he would gladly do all over again. One of the horses whinnied from the van, and Gabby put the camper into gear for the long haul home to Cimarron.