Part Two: Real Quiet
There have been numerous instances where I unrealistically mourn the missed opportunity to see a great racehorse of the past run that historic race. Books and video as my only links to those moments, always leaves me with a sense of wanting more. I was not even two years old when Real Quiet was handed his historic Belmont Stakes loss in 1998. This is one instance that I am thankful I did not experience this event in real time. I can barely watch the replay without breaking down.
Waterboarding- a piece of cake. Real Quiet’s Belmont- torture!
Let’s face it, this particular race hit every aspect of what the greatest of the greatest is about; by the highest of horseracing standards, putting it all on the line. Real Quiet warrants top recognition for his 1998 Belmont Stakes performance.
In the two earlier Triple Crown races, Real Quiet had displayed a vast amount of promise by winning both the Kentucky Derby, and the Preakness. Though he ran astoundingly in the Derby, he had to hold off a finishing kick from Victory Gallop.
Just two weeks later in the Preakness, he would romp home to win by a convincing margin. His Triple Crown bid was not unlike Sunday Silence’s nearly a decade earlier, as Victory Gallop would again cross the wire following behind the Triple Crown hopeful.
From the gates in the 130th Belmont Stakes, Real Quiet broke cleanly, and was guided into fifth position, behind horses, by jockey Kent Desormeaux. After the quarter in :23.3, and the half in a slow :48.3, Real Quiet was sitting in sixth, four lengths off the lead, and running like a Triple Crown winner.
Midway down the backstretch, Desormeaux had taken Real Quiet three wide, and, with slight urging, he began clipping off horses early with six furlongs to go. The pace hastened three furlongs out from the wire. Real Quiet was three wide, neck and neck for the lead with two other horses in an attempt to upset his bid for the Triple Crown.
As the horses sprinted into the homestretch, with a mere three furlongs to run before hitting the wire, Real Quiet raced down heartbreak alley with the greatest of ease. It was to be a picture-perfect climax of a twenty year wait as Kent Desormeaux continued to push the bay colt to the sound of the screaming crowd. Real Quiet seemed to be running away from the field in a Secretariat-esque manner.
Victory Gallop sprang into action and began to devour the space between him and the potential racing legend. With fewer than ten seconds left in the race, the destiny of racing history became uncertain. The two rivals stayed neck and neck to the wire, with only the difference of each other’s head-bob meeting the wire.
Fans and connections were left heart-stoppingly stunned with a photo-finish. What had to have seemed like an eternity waiting for the stewards’ decision, even the jockeys of the two “winners” weren’t sure who had won. When the number eleven finally lit up the first place spot on the odds board, the crowd reacted with dismay at the loss of a Triple Crown victor.
Real Quiet lost by an inch. Yes, an actual inch. For my metric readers, 2.45 centimeters.
This is the distance Real Quiet lost by: ********
The 1997 and 1998 Belmont Stakes had ironically connected connections; In 1997, Victory Gallop’s jockey Gary Stevens, was aboard the Bob Baffert-trainee, Silver Charm, who experienced a similar fate as the Bob Baffert-trainee, Real Quiet in 1998. It’s ironic that Gary Stevens would be the one to deal Kent Desormeaux the same cards that were dealt to him by Chris McCarron the year before.
It was no accident that Real Quiet was in the position of making horseracing history. He is supported by powerful lineage, both on the sire, and dam’s side. When researching his pedigree, I discovered wise crosses by every breeder involved in creating this great racehorse.
The handsome bay colt is by notable broodmare sire, Quiet American, whose sire is the distinguished Fappiano, from the breeding of Mr. Prospector- Killaloe, by Dr. Fager. I constantly take a liking to horses with both Mr. Prospector and Dr. Fager in their pedigrees. I find it interesting to mention that the second dam of Mr. Prospector is by 1943 Triple Crown winner, Count Fleet.
Cequillo can be found three generations back in Fappiano’s female family, as well as one other place in Real Quiet’s heritage. Cequillo is the dam of an extraordinary fourteen winners, including four stakes winners. She is considered one of the top one hundred Blue Hens of the 20th century. Cequillo is by Princequillo, undoubtedly one of the greatest broodmare sires of all time. 1973 Triple Crown winner, Secretariat is among his outstanding progeny.
Quiet American is out the Dr. Fager mare, Demure. Her dam, Quiet Charm, is by Nearctic, the sire of 1964 Kentucky Derby winner, Northern Dancer. Nearctic’s sire, Nearco (ITY), was greatly influential both on and off the track.
Dr. Fager’s dam, Aspidistra, is by Better Self, from the powerhouse breeding of Bimelech-Bee Mac, by War Admiral. The breeding that produced Better Self is, in my eyes, flawless. Bee Mac herself was a highly successful racemare, and is backed by the rare lines of her sire, War Admiral. Bimelech, the favorite of his Kentucky Derby, is not only by Black Toney, but also out of legendary broodmare, La Troienne (FR).
Dr. Fager is closely related to La Troienne (FR), his dam, Aspidistra, being out of Tilly Rose, whose great-grandsire is Teddy (FR) - the sire of La Troienne (FR). Rough’N Tumble, the sire of Dr. Fager, is out of a mare by Bull Dog, another son of Teddy (FR). It also intriguing that Rough’N Tumble appears three times in Real Quiet’s pedigree.
Real Quiet is out of the Believe It mare, Really Blue. Believe It is by the widely sought-after, In Reality, who I love to see crossed with Mr. Prospector and Dr. Fager. Believe It’s dam is Breakfast Bell, a member of the Buckpasser progeny. Really Blue also has Raise A Native as her broodmare sire, and her dam, Meadow Blue, is out of Gay Hostess, by Royal Charger (GB), also by Nearco (
Despite his untimely death last September, at the age of 15, Real Quiet has left the horseracing industry with a significant legacy; Midnight Lute, Pussycat Doll, and Whirlwind Charlott. And, of course, the memories of nail biting, fantastic racing.