Grindstone, the first Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner to stand in the Northwest, will see several of his 2-year-olds make their debuts on Oregon Championship Day Nov. 17 at Portland Meadows.
Six of the 11 juveniles entered in the Janet Wineberg Stakes and the Bill Wineberg Stakes, races 5 and 6 on the Portland card Sunday, are by Grindstone. Five of the six are making their debuts.
The 20-year-old dark bay stallion was purchased by leading Oregon breeder Dr. Jack Root in 2009 from Overbrook Farm and stands at Root's Oakhurst Thoroughbreds in Newberg. Grindstone, whose fee in 2013 was $2,500, covered his first Oregon mares in 2010 so his babies are just reaching the track this season.
Grindstone became a household name in 1996 when he won the Kentucky Derby by a nose over Cavonnier with a valiant finish from far back under jockey Jerry Bailey in perhaps the closest "Run for the Roses" ever. He chipped a knee in the race, however, and was retired five days later.
The son of Unbridled out of the Drone mare Buzz My Bell was bred and owned by Overbrook and trained by D. Wayne Lukas. His progeny while at Overbrook included two millionaires, Ekolu Place and Birdstone . The latter captured the Belmont and Travers (both gr. I) stakes in 2004, and sired 2009 Derby winner Mine That Bird and that year's Belmont victor, Summer Bird.
Grindstone, according to Root, has had two juvenile winners this year, one at Golden Gate Fields and one at Emerald Downs, from about 10 starters. Many more Grindstone yearlings are residing at Oakhurst.
"He bred about 80 mares that first year (in Oregon)," said Root of Grindstone. "We haven't seen as many hit the track yet as we'd thought at this point, but a few will be making their debuts on Oregon Championship Day.
"Both of those races (the Jane Wineberg and the Bill Wineberg) have tough favorites that have already won," added Root. "But I think a couple of those firsters will be able to run well, so we'll just have to see."
The Janet Wineberg for fillies drew Grindstone offspring Dreamstone Cowgirl (9-2 on the morning line) and Sacredstone (6-1) in a field of five. The Bill Wineberg for colts and geldings has four of the six entrants by Grindstone: Stonegrinder (15-1), Nosetodagrindstone (6-1), For Cats Sake (15-1), and Stoney River (5-1).
Despite Grindstone's advanced age, his owner feels his offspring will have a big say in the future of racing in Oregon.
"I'm pleased with the 2-year-olds we have now, but I'm really excited for next year's horses," said Root. "We had Tom Roberts come stay with us for a couple months and he broke them for us. Tommy is one of the best trainers in the country in my opinion, and he's really high on them as well."