Sunset brought them to the Salt Flats. The foreman gave orders to throw off and make camp.
A course was chosen for the race. From a selected point the horses were to run to a clump of mesquite, round it, and return to the starting-place. Dug Doble was chosen both starter and judge.
Dave watched Whiskey Bill with the trained eyes of a horseman. The animal was an ugly brute as to the head. Its eyes were set too close, and the shape of the nose was deformed from the effects of the rattlesnake's sting. But in legs and body it had the fine lines of a racer. The horse was built for speed. The cowpuncher's heart sank. His bronco was fast, willing, and very intelligent, but the little range pony had not been designed to show its heels to a near-thoroughbred.
"Are you ready?" Doble asked