Legendary Kentucky Derby winner passes away

Grindstone, a horse that won the 1996 Kentucky Derby, died this week at the age of 29.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the horse’s death was announced by Oakhurst Equine Veterinary Services of Oregon.

The company acquired the horse after his original owner, William T. Young, passed away.

“Thank you for providing us with a thrill of a lifetime,” a tweet from the company said.

“You changed our lives when you joined us and will always be missed.”

Grindstone won the annual race for 3-year-old horses, the first leg of horse-racing’s Triple Crown, in a photo finish over Cavonnier.

It was the second win for jockey Jerry Bailey. However, the celebration was to be short-lived.

Less than a week after Grindstone’s win, he was retired after a bone chip was found in his knee.

He was the first horse since Bubbling Over in 1926 to be retired immediately after winning the Kentucky Derby.

“This is in the best interest of the health of the horse,” Young said in a statement at the time, according to The Associated Press, announcing he would put the horse out to stud.

“The injury is not life-threatening to Grindstone. It’s simply the right thing to do. We are so thankful for the Derby win. He will make a great sire.”

And that he did; Grindstone would sire over 300 winners. The most famous of these was Birdstone, the horse whose 2004 win in the Belmont Stakes denied a Triple Crown to Smarty Jones.

On Wednesday, Bailey recalled the horse that gave him his second Derby win.

“He was a smallish horse,” Bailey said.

“He was what you would call a classic overachiever. He was very athletic, could make my job easier in terms of acceleration during the race. He was fun to ride. (But) He probably won more races than he should have … It’s not like I left that race (the Derby) thinking Triple Crown.”

At the time of his death, Grindstone was the oldest living winner of the race, or of any Triple Crown event.