(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Narrated by the title character’s twelve-year-old son, Joe, the story begins in Italy, where the man works as a jockey. Joe recounts the difficulties his father had keeping his weight down and how strenuously he exercised to stay fit. He also recalls how fond he was of his old man as he watched him jump rope in the hot sun. Joe recalls once how tired his father appeared at a weigh-in and how he looked at a younger jockey with envy. Joe thinks that everything might have been better if they had remained in Italy riding at the easy courses in Milan and Torino. He remembers the big green infield at San Siro with the mountains in the distance and how much he loved the horses and the sweep of the race as they rounded the turns.

After winning the Premio Commercio, his old man has an argument in the Galleria with an Italian and a man named Holbrook, who calls him a “son of a bitch.” This shocks Joe and he notices that his father is greatly upset by the confrontation, but he cannot quite figure out why. His father tells him that there are many things one just has to accept. Three days later they leave Milan for good on the train for Paris.

They arrive the next morning at the Gare de Lyon, and Joe remarks on the differences between Paris and Milan. They find a place to board with a Mrs. Meyers in Maisons-Lafitte in the district with the race tracks. It is the best place to live he has ever seen. His father hangs around the Café de Paris in...

(The entire section is 556 words.)