Neves has been telling this version since. It was only after a scratched, badly lighted print from the official patrol-judge footage had been turned into slow-motion, frozen-frame images that made it a modern-day instant replay that Neves was able to see what had really happened. The film shows that Fannikins broke well, but as the field moved into the first turn Neves was fifth, behind four horses stretched from the rail almost to the middle of the track. The outside horse of the three front runners broke a leg and stumbled into the horse next to him. Then, in a falling-domino sequence, the other two lead horses were hit and all four went down.
Jockeys were flying through the air as Neves, a few lengths behind, tried to pull outside to avoid the melee. The sudden move by Neves caused Fannikins to balk and Neves went flying forward several yards ahead of the pileup. He was stunned, lying face downward in the dirt. Fannikins' momentum carried him forward, also. He rolled twice and came to rest directly atop Neves.
The whole sequence took three seconds—72 frames of stop-action slow-motion film. Looking at it, Neves shouted, "My horse didn't trip! I never hit the rail! And no horses went over me! I was thrown clear and that damned horse rolled right on top of me."
This first half of Neves' story may have been new to him, but it is the dull part. And about the rest he is not confused. After the doctors pronounced him dead Neves was taken to nearby Mills Memorial Hospital, where he was placed on a slab in the "cold" room while death certification papers were filled out preparatory to his being sent to the morgue. About half an hour had elapsed since he had been pronounced dead, and he was stretched out in total darkness when, as he recalls all too vividly, "I leaped up and I couldn't sec anything. I began feeling my way around the room—then I started screaming. No one heard me. Finally I found the door and ran. When I got to the street, I hailed a cab and told the driver to take me to the racetrack. He must have thought I was crazy, standing there in my boots and a sheet."
When Neves and his sheet got to the track there were still several thousand fans milling around discussing the tragedy. Unnerved, Neves began to run, and several people started chasing him. Finally a couple of jockeys caught him and took him to the track's first-aid station, where he was examined again. This time the doctors could find nothing wrong, except for some bruises and a slight case of shock.
The next day Neves was back at work. The headline of a yellowed San Francisco Chronicle' clipping that is framed on the wall of the Talk o' the Town reads:
DIED BUT LIVES
TO RIDE AND WIN.
Win? Neves finished as the top rider of the Bay Meadows meet after all, richer by $500, a watch—and his skin.