Although he is late, Vronsky manages to visit his officer friend and make it back to the racetrack just in time for his race. The Englishman warns him once again not to get excited. Vronsky changes unhurriedly and slips into the crowd, deliberately avoiding Princess Betsy and Anna. Vronsky’s brother tells him to answer his mother’s letter. Vronsky sees his only real rival in the race, a huge stallion named Gladiator. Vronsky does not look to the pavilion where Anna is seated. As Vronsky mounts Frou-Frou, he and his horse are both agitated. As they make their way to the starting line, Frou-Frou is tense, high-strung, and difficult to control.
Despite his inner emotional turmoil, Vronsky manages to maintain external appearances by arriving just on time for his steeplechase. Although Vronsky tries to maintain his composure, he and Frou-Frou are both nervous. The Englishman’s warnings to Vronsky to not get excited foreshadow the dire agitation that parallels the news of the affair and plagues the race. Frou-Frou is high-strung and jittery, and because Vronsky himself is keyed up, he cannot control her.