03/20/2007 12:00AM

Real Quiet nearing return

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Real Quiet, winner of the 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and that season's 3-year-old champion, will likely return to Pennsylvania's Pin Oak Lane Farm for stud duty by the end of the week.

Syndicate manager Mike Jester said Tuesday that the 12-year-old horse, who has been hospitalized at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center since Feb. 19, has been successfully test-breeding mares there. Real Quiet was hospitalized after developing abscesses in both hind feet, and Jester said the horse's veterinarians wanted to make sure the stallion could comfortably mount mares before discharging him from the hospital.

"He's breeding mares and doing great," Jester said Tuesday. "We shipped about five mares down there, and tomorrow he's going to breed at 9, 12, and 3."

Jester said Real Quiet could ship back to Pin Oak Lane in New Freedom, Pa., as early as Thursday.

Real Quiet, by Quiet American, stands for $5,000 this year.