In a rival group two barns away the trainer of Salad Bowl was saying his colt could beat Pincer Movement on Hialeah form and could run on any going, sloppy or not.
George Highbury attracted few newsmen, as he hadn't much to say about Crinkle Cut. The 3-year-old had been beaten by both Pincer Movement and Salad Bowl on separate occasions and was not expected to reverse things.
On Friday afternoon Fred Collyer spent his time in the pressroom and manfully refused a couple of beers. "Entertaining various owners at track, $22."
Piper Boles rode a hard finish in the sixth race, lost by a short head, and almost passed out from hunger-induced weakness in the jocks' room afterward. George Highbury noted sourly that Boles had made the weight and confirmed that he would ride Crinkle Cut. Various friends of Piper Boles, supporting him toward a daybed, asked anxiously whether tomorrow's scheme was still on. Boles nodded.
Marius Tollman was relieved to see Boles riding better, but decided to hedge his bet by letting the syndicate in on the action.
Blisters Schullz lifted two billfolds containing $14 and $22. He lost $10 backing a sure thing in the last race.
Pincer Movement, Salad Bowl and Crinkle Cut, guarded by uniformed men with guns at their waists, looked over the stable doors and with small quivers in their tuned-up muscles watched other horses go out to the track. All three knew well enough what the bugle was sounding for on the other side of the course.
Saturday morning, sunny and clear. Tens of thousands converged on Churchill Downs. Eager, expectant, chattering, dressed in bright colors and buying mint juleps in souvenir glasses, they poured through the gates and spread through the stretch-long stands, reading the latest on Pincer Movement vs. Salad Bowl, and talking of picking outsiders that would come in at 50 to 1.
Blisters Schultz had scraped together enough to pay his motel bill, but self-esteem depended on better luck. His small, lined face with its busy eyes wore a look close to desperation, and the long predatory fingers clenched and unclenched convulsively in his pockets.
Piper Boles, with 126 to do on Crinkle Cut, allowed himself an egg at breakfast. He decided to buy Occidental Petroleum with the $500 in used bills that had been delivered by hand the previous evening, and with the gains (both legal and illegal) he should add to them that day. If he cleaned up that afternoon, he thought, there was no reason why he shouldn't set up the same scheme again, even after he had retired from riding. He hardly noticed the shift in his mind from reluctant dishonesty to habitual fraud.