Real Quiet, nicknamed “The Fish” by trainer Bob Baffert due to his being so narrow, came within mere inches of becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner. The bay colt with jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard was denied at the wire by Victory Gallop and jockey Gary Stevens, who was denied the Triple Crown aboard Silver Charm the year prior.
Real Quiet was bred and foaled in Florida by Eduardo Gaviria, who bought his dam, Really Blue and sent her to Quiet American. The resulting foal with crooked knees was sent to a yearling auction where he was purchased for $17,000 by Mike Pegram. Having won the Grade I Hollywood Futurity at 2, and then second to his stablemate Indian Charlie at 3 in the Santa Anita Derby, Real Quiet came into the 124th Kentucky Derby ready to take on the 14 other competitors. Trailing from midpack after the start throughout the backstretch, jockey Desormeaux started to move the colt, finally taking the lead as they reached the final turn. Motoring down the stretch, Real Quiet held off the challenge of the late running Victory Gallop, claiming the victory by a half-length in a time of 2:02.38. The Derby win was the second consecutive for Baffert, who had come within a nose from having three in a row when his Cavonnier lost in 1996 to Grindstone. The win was the first for Pegram and Desormeaux.
In the Preakness, Real Quiet would again prove victorious, this time by 2 ¼ lengths, again over Victory Gallop. For the second time, Bob Baffert went into the Belmont with the chance of gaining the Triple Crown. In 1998, he almost had it, coming four inches short as Victory Gallop ran Real Quiet down in the final strides, turning the tables.
Racing again at 4, Real Quiet won two more Grade I races, the Pimlico Special and Hollywood Gold Cup, before being retired. Retired to Vinery, he also stood at several other farms, eventually ending up at Penn Ridge Farm in Pennsylvania, where he would pass away due to a paddock accident at age 15. The sire of several good horses, his best runners include Grade I winner Pussycat Doll, in addition to back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner, Midnight Lute.
(Photo courtesy of KDM archives)