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Oct 01, 2010

Another personal favorite passes away

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Another one of my favorite thoroughbreds has passed away. It was learned Tuesday that 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet died in his stall at Penn Ridge Farm near Harrisburg, PA.

Real Quiet, who raced for owner Mike Pegram and trainer Bob Baffert, was the main horse I bet on in the 1998 Kentucky Derby. I liked him in the Santa Anita Derby, where he was second to stablemate Indian Charlie. I also included Victory Gallop off his Arkansas Derby win.

Watching the post position draw at The Sports Network offices, I commented to a co-worker that the numbers for the Run for the Roses were going to be huge.

Real Quiet went off at 8-1 in the 15 horse field and Victory Gallop was 14-1. I also included Blue Grass Stakes winner Halory Hunter in my exacta and trifecta boxes.

Real Quiet, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, was never far off the lead, however Victory Gallop and Alex Solis were racing far back. After a half-mile Victory Gallop was last.

At the top of the stretch Real Quiet had the lead while Victory Gallop mounted a rally around the final turn and into the stretch. Real Quiet prevailed by a half-length over Victory Gallop with 5-2 favorite Indian Charlie holding on for third and 6-1 fourth choice Halory Hunter getting up for fourth.

I had the winner, the exacta and missed the trifecta by a head. It was my first big Kentucky Derby win. The exacta paid $291.80 and I just missed out on a $1200 trifecta.

The 1998 Kentucky Derby was truly exciting to watch and served as the launch for a historic Triple Crown series.

Two weeks later in the Preakness Stakes the top two horses from the Derby again faced off. Only 10 thoroughbreds started the race with Victory Gallop the 2-1 favorite and Real Quiet second at 5-2.

Both horses raced off the pace with Real Quiet running wide the enter time. Victory Gallop, who was ridden by Gary Stevens, was unable to stay with Real Quiet down the stretch.

The Derby champ won the Preakness by more than two-lengths over his now arch- enemy. The exacta was only $14.80 and the trifecta was $97.40.

The focus was now on Real Quiet and his quest to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

With Desormeaux still with the mount, Real Quiet was the 4-5 favorite and Victory Gallop was the 9-2 second pick in the 11 horse field.

The favorite raced in the middle of the field while Victory Gallop was 10th. Real Quiet opened a lead at the top of the stretch and had a four-length lead with a furlong to run.

Stevens had Victory Gallop put on a classic rally around the turn for home and down the stretch. It was one of those situations where everyone is trying to determine if there's enough ground remaining for the closer to catch the leader.

With every stride Victory Gallop cut into Real Quiet's lead. The two hit the wire together. The naked eye could not separate the two horses.

Would there be a dead-heat or did Real Quiet hold off Victory Gallop to make history?

History was going to be made no matter what.

Victory Gallop won by less than a nose. For the second straight year trainer Bob Baffert was denied a Triple Crown sweep.

Just as when a human dies, memories come rushing back when a special equine athlete passes away.

I still have the button that was distributed going into the Belmont Stakes.

"QUIET, Triple Crown in Progress."

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