"Anyway, I started way outside, and he had no speed. We only had one horse beat at the first turn. I had brought him over, though, and I stayed about 10 feet off the rail the whole way around. The track was too deep in any closer, and if I had tried to go around a field that size, I wouldn't have had any chance. But I got through every horse on the inside, and by the time we got to the head of the stretch the only two ahead of me were Head Play and Charley O, who was trying to make a move on the outside. Then he fell back, and I moved up alongside Head Play. And this is where it all happened. Fisher came over on me, and I know if he gets me closer to that heavy footing on the rail, I ain't going to be in the hunt, so I reach out and push him off, and he reaches back at me, and boom-boom, that's it." Meade sits back and takes another sip from the glass of the sweet fruit wine.
Wait a minute. Hold on. What do you mean "Boom-boom, that's it"?
"Well, it was all so fast. It's all just a matter of seconds. It was just a natural reaction. It didn't occur to me at that time what race it was. It was just another race, so when Head Play came over on me I pushed him off, and then Fisher reacted. It did get a little wilder as we went along. At one point he didn't even have hold of his reins. He was trying to hold me with one hand and hit me with the other, with the whip. I had the best hold, and I never let loose."
Five years ago, in an interview, Fisher stated, "He grabbed my saddlecloth, and I went to the whip, and then we more or less drug Brokers Tip a quarter of a mile." This is a glossy accounting, but it squares with the tenor of the remark Fisher made as he went to the showers after the race, still sobbing. "He beat me out of it," he cried then. While there is no question that both were guilty of rough stuff, it is also well documented that Fisher brought it on by letting his mount come in on Brokers Tip, just as he had the horse go out on Charley O seconds before.
But curiously, perhaps nobly, Meade volunteers that he was really the one at fault. "I think if it were any other race but the Derby and I was riding for anyone else but Col. Bradley, they would have taken me down," he says.
But Fisher lugged in on you.
"I shoved him away with my hands." He shrugs and takes another sip of the wine. He beat Herb Fisher when it counted; he has no mind to take any part in doing it again.
"After the ceremonies, I walked into the jocks' room, and Fisher came at me. He had one of those bootjacks made of that hard wood. Have they still got those wooden poles there in the jocks' room? Well, I happened to be right by this one pole and I ducked, and that bootjack put a dent in that pole you could still see for years. So they gave us both 30 days for the riding, and they gave Herb an extra five for starting the fight.
"This meant neither one of us could ride in the Preakness, which was just as good for me since Head Play won by 10 lengths and Brokers Tip finished 10th. He never won another race. The Derby was his one race, and that was it.
"I never saw much of Fisher. He rode mostly out of Chicago and I was in New York. The few times we did see each other, we wouldn't talk. Never said a word to each other. Then, in 1965, at the dinner when they took Jackie Wes-trope into the Jockeys Hall of Fame at Pimlico, Sonny Workman came over and he said it was all in the past and time we made up. And so we did. We shook hands and talked for a while, and then a few minutes later Herb came back over and asked Madame Queen to dance, and when he took her out on the dance floor, you could hear everyone saying, "Look, the Hatfields and McCoys have made up. The Hatfields and McCoys have made up.'