Sires and Dams: Two Belair Studs and the Derby Brownell Combs Prefers Fillies Bred Myrtlewood and Durazna Fillies Doubtful in Derby, Daily Racing Form, 1944-04-06


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a I SIRES and DAMS By Nelson Dunsran Two Belair Studs and the Derby Brownell Combs Prefers Fillies Bred Myrtlewood and Durazna Fillies Doubtful in Derby NEW YORK, N. Y.. April 5. In the next weeks we are likely to hear lot about Belair Stud and Jim Fitzsim-mons. Also about Kentuckys Belair Stud and Brownell Combs, the breeder and owner of the filly Durazna. Whether this filly will go in the Derby we do not know, but if she does, she could well be the Number One maybe" horse of the Chur-chill Downs classic. For, as you recall, she was the miss who twice defeated Occupy in in a stake events last year and as a result was voted the best of her sex and age by a corps of experts. If she does not start in the Derby you can bet your bottom dollar she is going to be a tough filly to beat when she meets those of her own sex and age. But, beyond all that, Durazna is rather remarkable to us in that she was bred by one of the most unusual breeders; man who would just as leave have a good filly as he would a good colt. Brownell Combs, who now owns the ancestral Belair in Kentucky, is one of the sons of the Hon. Leslie Combs, who was minister to Guatemala and Honduras under President Theodore Roosevelt, and minister to Peru under President Taft: Brown-ells brother, Lucas Combs, owns a portion of the original Belair, which he renamed Runners Rest. Leslie II. is the owner of Spendthrift Farm and is one of the most progressive young breeders in this country. The original Leslie Combs was a general, and it was his son, Leslie, who bought Belair in 1892 and late in life was the breeder of El Chico, the undefeated two-year-old champion of 1938. His best mare, however, was Killashandra, the dam of Mate, winner of more than 00,000. Brownell Combs was to carry on the breeding of thoroughbreds just as all members I of his family did. Rather remarkable is the" fact that he achieved his first success with fillies and has been doing so ever since. His first two, both foaled in 1921. were Sweetheart and Anna M. Humphrey. J. Cal Milam bought Anna M. Humphrey as a yearling and once said she was the best thoroughbred he ever trained. That is indeed high praise from the man who trained Exterminator and sold him as a three-year-old to Willis Sharpe Kilmer. Combs retained Sweetheart, a daughter of Ultimus, and it was this mare who was later to foal Case Ace, winner of the Arlington Futurity and the Illinois Derby. While Brownell Combs sends some of his yearlings to market, he retains a few to race in his own colors and later serve as broodmares. Just one of these was Manta, a foal of 1927 and, besides a winner of the Orphan Stakes at Colonel Bradleys Idle Hour Farm, she was also a winner of two 0,000 handicaps at Latonia. In stud she produced some good winners. Next came Myrtlewood, a foal of 1932 and named for the town of Myrtlewood, Ala. This daughter of Blue Larkspur and Frizeur was one of the fastest mares to be seen on the turf during the present century. She not only ran two record-breaking performances at Detroit, but at Washington Park ran a mile in 1:35%. It was in a match race at Keeneland that she defeated the fast Miss Merriment. Upon retirement, which was brought about by heavy weight assignments. Myrtlewood was mated with Equipoise and the foal was Crepe Myrtle. She later foaled a filly by Bull Dog and a colt by Sickle. But it was a mating with Bull Lea. which i resulted in the foal Durazna, a filly who i earned more than her share of fame as a two-year-old in 1943. In the voting at the end of the year, Phil McCann pointed her out as the champion of her division and more than one authority openly agreed with him in his selection. There is no telling what a two-year-old filly, regardless of whether she was a champion, will accomplish when she meets the same colts as % three-year-olds. Top Flight, unde- feated as a two-year-old, is a recent example of this. She did not get beyond the Wood Memorial in her opposition to the colts, but when pitted against her own sex she was still a hard-hitting miss. We believe Durazna will also be a filly to beat when pitted against other fillies. But, regardless of how she performs, her career as a two-year-old was another triumph in the breeding of Brownell Combs, a man who would just as leave have a good filly as he would a good colt.

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