HOW A SELFLESS ACT LED TO A KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER

The Kentucky Derby Museum Friday night presented the fifth annual program called “My Kentucky Derby.”  The entertaining 75-minute discussion between the moderator–Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas–and five retired Hall of Fame jockeys was held in the Sales Pavilion at Keeneland.  Lukas told of how an act of generosity ultimately resulted in the 1996 Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone, who he trained.

As a fund-raiser in the early 1990s, the Kentucky Derby Museum was selling a season to the stallion Unbridled, who had won the 1990 Kentucky Derby but had not yet hit the big time as a sire.  The goal was to get $50,000 for the season.

Lukas, a champion of the Derby Museum, asked William T. Young, owner of Overbrook Farm in Lexington and a Lukas client, to buy the Unbridled season for the asking price of $50,000.  Young replied that he could buy Unbridled seasons on the open market for $15,000.

However, after consideration of how the Museum would benefit, Young paid the $50,000–more than three times the going rate.  He then instructed his farm staff to find a mare suitable to breed to Unbridled.  The mare chosen was, in Lukas’ words, a “B-level mare,” Buzz My Bell by Drone.  She had career earnings of $223,295 from 13 starts (2 wins, 3 places, and 4 shows).

The product of that breeding was Grindstone, foaled in 1993.  In 1996, he won the Kentucky Derby by the slimmest of margins and never ran another race because of an injury sustained in the Derby.

An irony:  Overbrook Farm owned and stood Storm Cat, the dominant sire of his generation, and bred superb mares to him.  At one time, he reportedly commanded a stud fee of $500,000.  Yet the only Kentucky Derby winner that Young and Overbrook ever had was Grindstone, a son of an unproven stallion and a second-echelon mare.   The breeding that yielded Grindstone would not have been were it not for Young’s altruism.

William T. Young died in 2004; Grindstone stands at stud in Oregon for $2,500; and D. Wayne Lukas is still active as a trainer, raconteur, and avid supporter of the Kentucky Derby Museum.

Copyright © 2015 Horse Racing Business

Comments

  1. Wonderful ending to a charitable donation that must have come from the heart. Seems that the Kentucky Derby win must have been predestined. Bill Young and Wayne Lukas were justly rewarded for their kindness to the Museum and the many people who enjoy it.

  2. Bill Shanklin says

    The story of Grindstone has attracted one of the largest audiences ever on HorseRacingBusiness.com. The outcome seems like it was written for a movie script and is a bit farfetched. But it really happened.

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