Last Thursday, with the Churchill Downs stables abuzz with the news that the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Grindstone had been retired, because of an injury, five days after winning the Kentucky Derby, a trainer nodded toward Lukas's barn and said, "You never see any good 4-year-olds coming out of there, do you? Where are Thunder Gulch and Timber Country?" Those colts, who combined to sweep last year's Triple Crown, might have provided formidable opposition for the marvelous Cigar in 1996. Instead, both were hurt and retired to stud before the end of '95, adding weight to the ongoing criticism of Lukas—that he pushes his horses so hard an uncommon number break down.
In Grindstone's case, however, nobody can fairly level that accusation at Lukas. If anything, he babied Grindstone, who was forced out of training last August when a bone chip had to be surgically removed from his right knee. Going into the Derby, Grindstone was so lightly campaigned, with only five career starts, that the pundits wrote him off. Had he not been coupled for betting purposes with the more highly regarded Editor's Note, Grindstone might have gone off at 15-1.
Nobody is certain when Grindstone suffered his career-ending injury, which was another bone chip in the same knee. But it is possible that the effort required to win the Derby—jockey Jerry Bailey flawlessly negotiated the Derby traffic and perfectly timed the closing rush that caught Cavonnier at the wire—was the cause.
The loss of the Derby winner is a significant blow to Saturday's Preakness at Pimlico, where track officials were counting on a Grindstone-Cavonnier rematch to jack up attendance, betting and TV ratings. But the biggest loser is the racing public. Would Grindstone have proved to be the next Cigar? Or was he just another horse who was his best at the right time? We'll never know. But it seems that this time, at least, we can't blame Lukas.
Teeing Up for History
As an NFL special teams player for nine years, Eddie Payton, brother of Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, knows about getting hit from all sides. That was excellent preparation for becoming golf coach at Jackson (Miss.) State, a historically black college, in 1986. In Payton's first two years at the helm, the Tigers were victims of de facto segregation, forced to compete only against other historically black schools. As time went on Payton's teams were able to schedule more diverse competition. But last spring he couldn't quite buy the NCAA selection committee's contention that Jackson State's weak schedule, not its racial makeup, resulted in its exclusion from the 1995 national tournament field: After all, the Tigers had better credentials than Southwestern Louisiana, an all-white team that was taken in its stead.
Times are better now. This weekend Jackson State will knock down a century-old barrier when it competes in the Central Regional in Ann Arbor, Mich., thus becoming the first historically black college to compete in the 99-year-old NCAA tournament. At times, though, Payton has been a target of criticism from blacks who complain that he recruits too many whites. Only two African-Americans are among his top six players this year.
Yes, it would be more meaningful if the Tigers' history-making tournament berth had been earned by a team of African-American golfers. But that doesn't mean Payton shouldn't be applauded for what he has achieved. To be competitive against top teams, Payton says, he must recruit the best players regardless of skin color. "A golf ball doesn't care about the color of the person hitting it," says Payton, "why should I?"
Papa Saw Him, and He Was Good
In a career as a matador that spanned 30 years, the great Dominguín, who died last week in his native Spain at the age of 69, was gored several times, yet his worst wounds may have come on the horns of a bull called Papa. In 1959 Ernest Hemingway followed Dominguín and Antonio Ordóñez, Dominguín's brother-in-law and great rival, from corrida to corrida in Spain as the two waged a dramatic and hazardous duel for recognition as the world's foremost matador. In a series of articles for LIFE that became the book The Dangerous Summer, Hemingway, an aficionado, depicted Dominguín—a dashing figure famous for his affair with Ava Gardner and his friendship with Picasso—as a once great hero crumbling under pressure from a younger, better man.