As Kentucky Derby season is upon us, I was thinking about past winners and Real Quiet came to mind. I have personally been to the Kentucky Derby five times! 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008. They were all thrilling and very exciting! Real Quiet was the horse that did it for me, that got me amped up not only for the Triple Crown, but for horse racing in general.
I remember watching the Derby in ’97 when Silver Charm won, but it wasn’t until watching Real Quiet in 1998 that I really became a superfan! I don’t know what it was about him, but I loved him. The way he looked, the way he walked, his measly $17,000 purchase price..everything. I was 14 years old, an equestrian in my own right (hunters/equitation), and watching these majestic horses race gave me a thrill!
Real Quiet was born March 7, 1995 and was by Quiet American out of the mare Really Blue. He was bred by a Columbian proprietor who owned one stud farm in Bogota and one in Florida, Little Hill Farm, where Real Quiet was foaled. He had crooked knees and was sent to yearling auction where owner Michael Pegram picked him up for the bargain price of $17,000! Bob Baffert would be his trainer, and Kent Desormeaux his jock.
RQ’s 2yo season started off slow and took him seven races to score a win. He was in the money in races such as Indian Nations Futurity Cup and the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes before he got his big 2yo win in the $1 million dollar Hollywood Futurity. He ended his 2yo season with a record of 9 starts, 2 wins and 5 thirds and $381,122 in earnings.
His 3yo season is when he began to heat up! This is when I caught wind of him. If I remember correctly, he was coupled with stablemate Indian Charlie in the betting of the Kentucky Derby, and most people believed Charlie had a better chance. When they went to post for that race I was in so much anticipation! And what a race it was..and it was the start of the closest Triple Crown duel we had seen in ages!!! Real Quiet beat Victory Gallop by a half length in the Kentucky Derby!!!
ON TO THE PREAKNESS!
The wait was excruciating! Finally Preakness day came and “The Fish” as he was called by Bob Baffert was looking and feeling great!!! But could he win again?! Could he beat Victory Gallop? And they’re off……Real Quiet wins it! He beat Victory Gallop by 2 1/4 lengths!!! Could this be the horse? Could this be the horse to win the Triple Crown for the FIRST time since Affirmed in 1978??
THE BELMONT STAKES!
This was it..the moment of truth! I remember watching this race like it was yesterday..at the top of the stretch (the grueling stretch at belmont seems to last FOREVER!), Real Quiet was right there..and in the lead! Kent kept moving him up..no one seemed like they were going to catch him! This was it..he was going to win the TRIPLE CROWN! But wait..oh no! Here comes VICTORY GALLOP! Where did he come from, no! Run Real Quiet, Run!!! I can hear the announcers voice, “TOO CLOSE TO CALL!” It was heartbreaking to see Victory Gallop make that final run at him, it seemed like Real Quiet had it the whole way down the stretch. Relive it for yourself:
It was heartbreaking to watch this! How could he just lose it by a bob of the head?! So close!