Friday, October 1, 2010
A Horse Named Real Quiet
On Monday a very sad thing happened, which you might have heard about, and that was the death of a famous racehorse named Real Quiet. The way he died was kind of what you call a freak accident, because the people that take care of him put him in a paddock so they could clean his stall out. And then when they came back out, they found Real Quiet lying there dead in the middle of the paddock. And it turned out that he somehow fell down on his left shoulder blade, and his shoulder blade pushed up into his neck and broke a bunch of of his neck bones.
But nobody could figure out how or why Real Quiet fell because there were no marks on the ground that would show he slipped or anything. One time I heard about a basenji who was chasing a rabbit across his backyard, and the rabbit went under a fence, but the basenji ran into the fence and broke his neck, which killed him. But I don't think that Real Quiet was probably chasing a rabbit because that's not something that horses do, as far as I know. Of course, I have never met any horses personally, so I could be wrong about this.
Real Quiet was born on March 7, 1995, so he was 15 years old when he died, which is not all that old for a horse. His dam was named Really Blue, and his sire was named Quiet American. I think it would have been better if Real Quiet had been given a more grammatically correct name, like his dam had, but nobody asked me. Anyway, since Real Quiet had crooked knees, his breeder sold him as a yearling for only $17,000 to a man named Michael E. Pegram.
Real Quiet started racing when he was two years old, which is the age when most racehorses start racing. His trainer was Bob Baffert, who gave Real Quiet the nickname "The Fish" because he had such a narrow body. It took Real Quiet awhile to learn how to win races, so he didn't win one until his 8th race. And then he won a few more, but people didn't really pay much attention to him.
When Real Quiet was a 3-year-old, he was entered in the Kentucky Derby, but his trainer thought Real Quiet's stablemate, Indian Charlie, was the horse that could maybe win the race. Then Real Quiet surprised everybody by winning the Derby. A horse named Victory Gallop came in second, and Indian Charlie was third.
After that, Real Quiet ran in the Preakness, and he won that race, too, which got everyone really, really excited, because it meant that he had a chance to win the TRIPLE CROWN, which you can only do by winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. No horse had done that in 20 years, so that's why everybody got so excited, thinking that Real Quiet could do it.
And he almost did do it, because at the Belmont he got out in front of all the other horses, but then that pesky Victory Gallop came up from behind and just barely got his nose out in front of Real Quiet's when they crossed the finish line. And nobody could even tell who had won until they saw the photo. But even though Real Quiet didn't win the Triple Crown, he still got closer to winning it than any horse had since Affirmed won it in 1978, and no horse after him has come as close either. And Real Quiet did win something called the Eclipse Award for being the best 3-year-old colt in 1998.
When he was 4, Real Quiet won several more important races, and people thought he might win the Breeder's Cup Classic, but then he got injured with a fractured shin bone in his right front leg, and after that, he retired. But he was worth a lot of money by that time, because the average amount he won each year that he was racing was $1,101,880.
After he retired, Real Quiet got to have fun and also earn more money as a Stud Horse. If you wanted to breed your mare to Real Quiet, you had to pay $25,000! And besides being used as a stud in the U.S., he also got to go make baby horses in Australia, Uruguay, and the Philippines. And some of the horses he sired won a lot of races, just like he did.
So anyway, that's the story of a little racehorse that no one thought would be a champion, but who became one anyway. Which just goes to show that some things will always be hard to explain, like for instance why Real Quiet learned to run so fast, and also how he died in the strange way he did. But I guess that's just the way life is.