Later that same afternoon, after riding five (one winner) at Marlboro, Davidson sipped a Scotch and water in a bright-lighted barroom booth next to a Budweiser neon sign. Charley was at the bar "coolin' out" a trainer, and Davidson said, "Yeah, Charley thinks I can make it, so I'm gonna give it a try. But I tol' him—two weeks. That's it. I ain't goin' to risk everything I got. I worked like a sonabitch. Now I don't hafta work horses in the mornin's no more, and I can take off in November to go huntin' deer and I don't hafta start ridin' again till maybe March. You cain't do that at Laurel." Jesse chain-lighted one Winston from another and said, "When I got to be a jock there was four things I always wanted: to get me a Cadillac, to be leadin' rider in th' country, to make the Hall of Fame and to ride in the Kentucky Derby. I already got two of 'em, and right now I got over 1,700 winners and all I need's 2,000 and I could make the Hall of Fame. Ain't but 30, 40 guys won that many in history. I can keep ridin' another 10 years, so I'm a cinch for it. If I get lucky, maybe I can git to the Derby. Maybe not." He gulped down the rest of his drink, stood up and said, "Where's Charley? I gotta ride six t'night at Charles Town. We gotta go."
The meet at Laurel began on October 27. Davidson rode 21 mounts in the first eight days. He won two races, one on a horse called Someday, owned by Bohemia Stable. Then, as has happened before, Davidson's luck went sour. He was hospitalized with a bladder infection that required surgery; it would keep him from riding the rest of the year. "Yeah, we was goin' good at Laurel, too," he said, lying in his hospital bed. But already he was thinking of next year. "I'm goin' to try it in New York, by God," he said, sounding just a little surprised himself. "It won't be all that much tougher than Laurel, and it looks like I'll be ridin' with Bohemia whenever they start up there in New York." It will be a long way from the familiar, friendly land of the half-milers. In New York, Davidson will be getting up at 5:30 in the morning to gallop horses. There will be no crowds at the rail yelling, "Hol wif 'im, Jess." Arid whenever he goes out to eat or drink he will have to be sure he has plenty of money in his pockets because no one will be giving credit on Jesse Davidson's face alone. Not at The Races. Not yet, anyway.