Real Quiet is a good horse, perhaps a very good one. And should he repeat his wide-running, authoritative Preakness victory, he will earn every penny of the $5 million Triple Crown bonus. So will his trainer, Bob Baffert.
Indeed, Baffert's Triple Crown work in the past three seasons has been of Hall of Fame caliber. In 1996, he barely missed winning the Kentucky Derby by a desperate nose with Cavonnier, a marginal Grade I performer. Last year, he got two wins and a close second with Silver Charm against strong rivals. After winning this year's Derby with Real Quiet and finishing third with Indian Charlie, Baffert knew precisely that Real Quiet was all he needed for the 1 3/16-mile classic at Pimlico.
Kept under wraps for several days to recover from the stress of the Preakness, Real Quiet's two good workouts in the past two weeks suggest that his sharp trainer still has a strong horse for this grueling 1 1/2 -mile race.
Still, there is strong temptation to pick against Real Quiet, because so many better horses have failed to complete the sweep.
Three who did not run in the Derby or Preakness this year have interesting credentials and major demerits.
Limit Out: A lightly raced colt with Grade I talent has had an active training regimen as he stretches out in distance for one of the greatest trainers in racing history, Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens. This horse should be close to the pace, but he has never gone beyond a mile or raced around two turns.
Raffie's Majesty: Has trained beautifully for high percentage New York trainer H. James Bond, who specializes in lightly raced horses stepping up in class. But can he upset Real Quiet after losing his past two stakes against moderate competition?
Grand Slam: Was probably better than 1997 juvenile champion Favorite Trick, but was injured in the Breeders' Cup and never had a chance to show it. Handled patiently by the usually aggressive D. Wayne Lukas, Grand Slam won a Grade II stakes at 1 1/8 miles at Belmont 13 days ago and is unbeaten in four Belmont races.
Real Quiet is the best horse in a moderately talented, overcrowded Belmont field and he looked fine to me Thursday morning. Yes, I did say last time that Real Quiet could not possibly win the Triple Crown. I was wrong. He can and he will by open daylight. For a price play, I'll take exactas with Limit Out, Raffie's Majesty and Hot Wells, a long shot.
Pub Date: 6/06/98