Real Quiet, who was nosed out of becoming racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, died Sept. 27 in a paddock accident at Michael Jester’s Penn Ridge Farm near Harrisburg, Pa. The 15-year-old son of Quiet American was examined at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton Center.
“He broke five cervical vertebrae from C-5 through C-9, which is basically from his withers to his head,” said Jester, who served as stallion manager.
"I asked our stallion manager Chuck (King) what happened when he took Real Quiet to the paddock, and he said the horse walked toward his water, stood out in the middle of the paddock, and looked across the field to some mares on the hill like he always does. He wasn’t out there five minutes when it happened. He had to have reared up, slid, and fell on his left shoulder, and his left shoulder blade drove into his cervical spine area and fractured the vertebrae, which is how New Bolton described it.
“We walked around in the paddock after it happened, and there’s not a skid mark or anything like that. He wasn’t close to the fence. He was right in the middle. He was a smart horse, in great shape, and never did anything stupid.
“Either on the racetrack or as a stallion, Real Quiet always performed at the highest level. He will be greatly missed."
Purchased at auction for $17,000 by owner Mike Pegram, Real Quiet engaged in a contentious battle with Victory Gallop in all three Triple Crown races. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux in all three events, Real Quiet defeated Victory Gallop by a half-length in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and by 2 1/4 lengths in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). In the Belmont Stakes, Real Quiet led by four lengths at the eighth pole but succumbed to Victory Gallop’s relentless drive and was beaten a nose. Despite not racing again that year, Real Quiet was voted champion 3-year-old male.
Trained throughout his career by Bob Baffert, Real Quiet also was a grade I winner in his two other years of racing. At 2, he won the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) while still eligible for non-winners other than. As a 4-year-old, he captured the Pimlico Special Handicap (gr. I) and the Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap (gr. I). Shortly after the Gold Cup in June, Real Quiet suffered a fractured sprint bone in his right front leg and never raced again. He had won or placed in 17 of 20 starts and earned $3,271,802.
Real Quiet entered stud for a fee of $25,000 in 2000 at Vinery Kentucky near Lexington. George Hofmeister’s Highland Farm had purchased the breeding rights in Real Quiet the month before the Kentucky Derby. Hofmeister had bought majority interest in Vinery, owned by Ben P. Walden Jr. and his wife, Elaine.
Real Quiet later stood at Taylor Made Stallions in Kentucky and at Regal Heir Farm and Pin Oak Lane Farm, both in Pennsylvania, before heading to Penn Ridge. Real Quiet also shuttled to Australia and Uruguay.
Real Quiet has sired 15 stakes winners and the earners of $18.1 million. His best runner, Midnight Lute , who raced for Pegram and partners and was trained by Baffert, was voted 2007 champion sprinter after winning the TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I). Midnight Lute captured the Sprint the following year when it was sponsored by Sentient Flight Group. Real Quiet’s other stakes winners include three-time grade I winner Pussycat Doll and Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) winner Wonder Lady Anne L.
Bred in Kentucky by Little Hill Farm, Real Quiet was produced from the Believe It mare Really Blue.