Racing Wears A Triple Frown Derby Winner Grindstone Is Finished Due To Leg Injury

Posted: May 10, 1996

This time, there wasn't even a week's suspense. For the 18th consecutive year, there will be no Triple Crown winner.

Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone, who won the most thrilling Derby in 35 years, has been retired to stud after a bone chip was discovered in the knee of his right front leg, the same injury that caused him to have an operation last year.

The colt, a son of 1990 Derby winner Unbridled, made just the sixth start of his career last Saturday. Now, just that fast, he's gone.

Grindstone will be the first Derby winner never to race again since Bubbling Over in 1926.

The May 18 Preakness was the immediate loser. Derby favorite Unbridled's Song, who finished fifth after running wonderfully in bar shoes and from the 19 post, already had been declared out by owner Ernie Paragallo - unless his heel problem gets better and he can run in regular horse shoes.

However, mixed signals are coming out of that confused camp. Racing manger Buzz Chace told a New Jersey newspaper that everything is fine and Unbridled's Song will run in the Preakness. Stay tuned.

What is clear is that 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed remains the answer to a longstanding trivia question. Which horse last won the Triple Crown?

This is the second-longest period between Triple Crown winners. Only the Citation (1948) to Secretariat (1973) void was longer.

The year after Affirmed was the last time a favorite won the Derby. Only four times since 1978 has a horse even won the first two legs of the Triple Crown: Spectacular Bid (1979), Pleasant Colony (1981), Alysheba (1987) and Sunday Silence (1989).

Before Secretariat came along, many had given up hope of ever seeing another Triple Crown winner. Then, in the space of five years, it was Secretariat, Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed. Since then, nothing.

So, D. Wayne Lukas will have to go to the bench to extend his record streak of six consecutive wins in Triple Crown races. And he will have to do it with his fifth different horse. Lukas is expected to bring Prince of Thieves (third in the Derby) and Editor's Note (sixth) to Baltimore. It would be no surprise, however, if he reaches a little farther down the bench.

No horse will win the 1996 Triple Crown. But D. Wayne can win it, just as he won it in 1995.

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