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Real Quiet - A Story of Success from Adversity
The story of Kentucky Derby winner Real Quiet is one of big expectations, physical concerns, and eventual fame. Sired by Quiet American (winner of the NYRA Mile and San Diego Handicap, both in 1990), Real Quiet was foaled at Little Hill Farm in Ocala, Florida on March 7, 1995. The Dam, Really Blue, is also of pedigree (having lineage to another Kentucky Derby winner, Spend a Buck). Breeder of Real Quiet was Columbian stud farm owner Eduardo Griviria. Gaviria owned both the Little Hill Farm as well as another farm outside of Bogota, Columbia.
With a pedigree of this magnitude, much was expected of the little horse upon arrival. Sadly, the young colt was born with crooked knees, which significantly dropped its value and prestige. Real Quiet was sold at a yearling auction to Fort Knox, Kentucky owner Michael Pegram for only $17,000.
Real Quiet was trained by Bob Baffert, a legend in horse racing circles. Baffert nicknamed Real Quiet "The Fish" due to the stallion's narrow frame. Baffert's success as a horse owner and trainer eventually led to his enshrinement into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. With a trainer of this quality, the long maturation process of Real Quiet to champion Stallion began.
First in the spotlight during the two-year old season of 1997, Real Quiet was truly real quiet in his first few races. It wasn't until his seventh race of the season, at Hollywood Park of Inglewood, California, that Real Quiet broke through the pack and claimed victory for the first time. Real Quiet proved his purebred status with winning by three lengths. A second win later in the 1997 season, during the high stakes Hollywood Futurity (a one million dollar purse), ensured that Real Quiet would be a horse to follow. His rating on the Beyer Speed Figure was noted. Real Quiet's record during the two-year old season finished strong, with two wins and five showings during his nine races. This success record was just a preview of the following year.
The 1998 season saw Real Quiet competing with other three-year old horses for the biggest stage for thoroughbred horses, the Triple Crown of Horse Racing. First up came the Kentucky Derby. Although with his resume, Real Quiet was overlooked pre-race as the field was full of impressive competitors. Despite the other horses, Real Quiet broke free from the rest of the pack and secured a win for esteemed jockey Kent Desormeaux. Real Quiet follow that performance with another commanding victory during the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes. All was lined up for a potential sweeping of the Triple Crown, but lost by a nose to Victory Gallop in the Belmont Stakes.
The success of Real Quiet was noted as he won the Eclipse Award, given to the best three-year old colt. Not since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978 has another horse come so close to the elusive goal of winning horse racing's three biggest events. As a testiment to the accomplishment, no horse since Real Quiet has come close to reaching that seeming unreachable plateau.