One thing that most of my friends and people that know me say about me is that you will usually know exactly where I stand. Very early in my career calling and handicapping races, one of my "certainties" was that Real Quiet (pictured) was not much of a racehorse. I never warmed to him at all and spent most of my time relieved that he failed to join the pantheon on Triple Crown winners by losing the Belmont by a nose to Victory Gallop. One other thing that most people that know me know is that I also can admit when I was wrong.
Real Quiet was a tremendous race horse that came as close as anyone will ever come to winning horse racing's Holy Grail and not doing it. You can almost compare him to the 1986 Boston Red Sox, who came so close yet were so far away from winning that elusive championship. Real Quiet showed guts and determination in winning the Kentucky Derby, Real Quiet showed class and brilliance in winning the Preakness, and Real Quiet showed greatness and fallibility in nearly winning the Belmont Stakes. He deserved the kudos that came his way after his five-week run at immortality (Real Quiet was named Champion Three-Year-Old Colt in 1998). The fact that he didn't quite make it doesn't deter from the fact that he gave it his best.
Real Quiet passed away at the age of fifteen following a fall in his paddock at Penn Ridge Farms on Monday. Looking back on it, he might have been 11th or 12th as far as greatness on that pantheon of Triple Crown winners, but in my opinion, he certainly should have been on the list.
Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!
Photo courtesy of championsgallery.com