Stands for $10,000 SNLF at Gainesway Farm
Birdstone is the stallion of the week, for the week ended Sunday May 3.
The son of Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone and grandson of Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled is himself now the sire of a Kentucky Derby winner, Mine That Bird, who won the Churchill Downs classic Saturday at odds of 50-1. Birdstone also was a classic winner, in 2004, when he won the 12-furlong G1 Belmont Stakes to thwart Smarty Jones' Triple Crown bid. All told, Birdstone won 5 of 9 starts at 2 and 3, including the G1 Champagne Stakes at 2 and the G1 Travers at 3, for earnings of $1,575,600. He was the real deal as a racehorse, and he had a family behind him as well, which shouldn't make his excellent start at stud surprising.
Birdstone, who went to stud for $10,000 and presently stands at the same fee, is a half-brother to champion filly Bird Town, who won the G1 Kentucky Oaks in 2003. Their dam, the Storm Bird mare Dear Birdie, was Broodmare of the Year in 2004.
Birdstone's first crop is 3 in 2009, and aside from the new Derby winner -- who was champion Canadian 2-year-old colt of 2008 -- it includes the 2009 G1 Kentucky Oaks runner-up Stone Legacy (20-plus lengths behind winner Rachel Alexandra) and G2 Arkansas Derby third Summer Bird, who was 6th of 19 in the Kentucky Derby.
For a relatively unheralded stallion, Birdstone is showing a penchant for getting high-class runners. His stakes horses to date are: Mine That Bird (G1 winner, champion); Stone Legacy (G1-placed); Summer Bird (G2-placed); Livin Lovin (G3 winner); and Texas Birdstone (SW).
Birdstone also is making a case for Belmont Stakes winners as sires, once considered a negative for prospective stallions because of the perceived stamina they bring to the table. He, along with Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker (sire of Derby runner up Pioneerof the Nile), can join a group of successful stallions siring quality horses such as A.P. Indy (sire of Preakness winner Bernardini and Derby second Aptitude), Thunder Gulch (sire of Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Point Given), and Lemon Drop Kid.
A small-to-average-size horse, Birdstone's son Mine That Bird is built on the same scale. Mine That Bird's size, action, and reserves of stamina no doubt helped his efforts in Derby going that was much heavier than wet-fast; the gelding appeared to skip over the best part of the track, on the rail, while his rivals labored over the surface. He won by 6-plus lengths under a ride and a trip that he relished. Click here to view it.