The 28th of September 2010 will remain a date few members of the horse racing industry will ever forget. Two breathtaking careers came to a sudden end, and while one legend will continue to live out her life as a brood mare, the other will be lost to the racing world forever. With such magnificent racing careers to look back on, it was announced with great sadness that Rachel Alexandra had retired from horse racing, and that Real Quiet passed away on 27 September 2010. Their contributions to horse racing will always be remembered.
Real Quiet was a horse that was known for his dependable performances and had smarts about him that is rarely seen in a stallion. His three-year-old campaign in 1998 was the most memorable, as he took on the elusive Triple Crown with veteran jockey Ken Desormeaux in the saddle. He had won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes convincingly, and led the Belmont Stakes for most of the way. Unfortunately for Real Quiet, Victory Gallop fought back fiercely and took the victory from him by a mere nose. Real Quiet was owned by Mike Pegram and had Bob Baffert as his trainer. Other achievements in his career included the Pimlico Special Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup and Hollywood Futurity, as well as earning over $3.2 million during his career. Michael Jester commented on the fatal injury suffered by Real Quiet in his paddock, saying: “I asked our stallion manager Chuck 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.”
Rachel Alexandra on the other hand burst onto the horse racing circuit with great achievements and a winning spirit. The year 2009 was a memorable year, with Rachel Alexandra and Zenyetta heating up the field. Presently owned by Jess Jackson and Harold T McCormick, Rachel Alexandra is trained by Steve Asmussen. After winning all eight of her career starts last year, and being voted the 2009 Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra did not return with the same fire after being rested. Jackson made the decision to retire her, commenting: “Rachel Alexandra owes us nothing. As a 3-year-old, she set standards and records that no filly before her ever achieved. And I suspect it will be quite a while before a 3-year-old filly ever equals or surpasses her achievements. Although her fans were thrilled by a series of spectacular victories, I believe they, as we, were simply awed time and again by her sheer beauty, courage, and athleticism.” Both these racing greats will be sorely missed and remembered as true heroes of the track.