Sal never showed up. Jeff did. That was a shocker. He got out of the truck and told me to follow him, we had work to do. "Where's Sal," I asked.
"Uh, he and Terri are having a big fight at the house. He paid me to come fix this. He doesn't have a clue what to do."
"Oh man. I didn't want to tell Sal, Jeff, I swear I didn't. He wouldn't let me talk to Terri. I had to tell him."
"I know you did. Just don't tell anybody I was here, alright."
"You know I won't."
"I know. Now let's see what's going on with these racers. Are you sure their weights are screwed up?"
"I double checked 'em before I called."
"I figured you did. Had to ask though," he weighed the first dog. He let out a long whistle, she was almost three pounds underweight. "Jeez, it's worse than I thought. Get the rest of them." He weighed the rest of them and all of them were three to four pounds underweight - except for Checkers. He was a pound under, but he was usually overweight. Out of seven dogs, only one was not in danger of being scratched.
"Here's what we do," Jeff said. "I want you to weigh out seven pans with one pound of pure beef. Got it?"
"I'm going to call Sal. I'll be right back. Don't feed 'em, just wait on me to get back." I started to weigh the feeds. He was only gone a few minutes. "Ready," he asked as he came through the door.
"Yes." Jeff went to the cabinet and got a bottle of Karo syrup out. He poured a generous helping over each feed and then he mixed in a lot of water.
"A pound is not the best thing to give them before they run, but it won't kill them either. The syrup will add a little weight and so will the water. I want you to load them straight in the truck. Don't let them clean out either. When you get to the track, Sal will be waiting. Unload 'em as fast as you can. Whatever you do, don't let them clean out! Walk 'em straight inside. We'll get 'em across the scales. They won't get scratched anyway. They won't run for shit, but at least they won't get scratched. Any questions?"
"No, I got it."
"Good girl. Now start loading. I've got to do my kennel now. Don't tell a soul I was here, I'll lose my license."
Sal was waiting at the track. I didn't see Terri for a few days after that. It was just me and Sal and he rode my ass hard. It was a miserable couple of days in the kennel.