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  Ben Brush

Ben Brush  
Bay colt 1893.
By Bramble - Roseville by Reform.

Darley Arabian Sire line:
Whalebone Branch.
Family A-1

Bramble His sire, Bramble

Ben Brush was bred by Catesby Woodford and Ezekiel F. Clay and foaled at their Runnymede Stud near Paris, Kentucky. The actual engineer of the Bramble-Roseville mating, however, was Eugene Leigh, owner of Bramble, who sold Roseville in foal to Bramble to the partners.

When the foal was offered as a yearling at the annual Runnymede sale, Leigh was a partner with trainer Ed Brown in buying the colt for $1,200. The colt was then named for the track superintendent at the old Sheepshead Bay racetrack on Long Island. Running in the name of his trainer, the two-year-old Ben Brush dominated the 1895 racing year. Undefeated in his first five starts in the Midwest, he lost his next three races after shipping to New York, but regained his winning form in the Holly Handicap.

This victory prompted his purchase (reportedly around $15,000) by Michael F. Dwyer, one of the famous Dwyer Brothers who had raced in partnership until 1890, their runners including Ben Brush's sire, Bramble. Ben Brush rounded out the season with wins in the Prospect Handicap, Nursery, Albany, and Champagne Stakes, with 13 wins in 16 starts that year. The following year, he started eight times, winning half, including his season debut in the Kentucky Derby, as well as the Buckeye Stakes, Latonia Derby, and a dead-heat in the Shulte Stakes with Lady Inez. He was again considered the best of his age in training. As a four-year-old in 1897, Ben Brush matured into an even better runner, winning seven of 16 starts, including the Suburban, Omnium, Brighton Handicap, Citizen's Handicap, and the First and Second Special Stakes.

Thus champion every year he raced, Ben Brush ended his race career with totals of 40 starts, 24 wins and $65,208 in earnings. As the Dwyers had no interest in breeding, Ben Brush was sold again, this time to James R. Keene, owner of Castleton Stud outside of Lexington, Kentucky, who needed a replacement for his great runner Domino, who had died in 1897 after siring only two crops. At Castleton, Ben Brush embarked on another remarkable career, this time as a stallion.

Ben Brush in the Stud

His first two crops (1899, 1900) produced nothing of note, but the small 1901 crop included champion juvenile and Belmont Stakes winner Delhi (out of Veva by *Mortemer) and the top handicapper Broomstick (out of *Elf by Galliard), taking him second on the Leading Sires' List in 1904.

Champion juvenile Delhi
Champion Sweep
Subsequent crops included champions Sweep (at two and three), Pebbles (at two), and the good colts Von Tromp, Vandergrift, and Theo. Cook.

When Sweep was the best two-year-old in training in 1909, Ben Brush led the American Sires' List.

Keene died in 1913 and the 20-year-old Ben Brush was sold privately to Senator Johnson N. Camden for $10,000. Moved to Camden's Hartland Stud (which passed into the hands of the Abercrombie family as Pin Oak Stud, and is now owned by the University of Kentucky), near Versailles, Kentucky, he died on June 8, 1918 at the age of 25. His grave at Hartland was marked with a simple stone tablet that notes his date of death incorrectly as "1917."

Physically, Ben Brush resembled his sire, Bramble to some degree, but really established his own physical type that marked individuals from this bloodline for several generations. Small, short-legged and long-bodied, the Ben Brushes were not noted for their refinement, but were famous for their precociousness, speed, and durability, a rare combination that made them extremely popular and successful.

For the first half of the 20th Century, Ben Brush's male line was one of the most important male lines in America, along with that of Domino and Fair Play. His sons Sweep and Broomstick both succeeded him in later years as American Leading Sires, as did Sweep's son, The Porter.

--Anne Peters

BEN BRUSH, Bay colt, 1893 - Family A - 1.
b. 1875
*Bonnie Scotland
b. 1853
b. 1843
Don Juan
Queen Mary
b. 1843
dau of
Ivy Leaf
ch. 1867
ch. 1858
West Australian
Bay Flower
b. 1859
Bay Leaf
b. 1888
b. 1871
Sister to Pan
Stolen Kisses
b. 1864
Knight of Kars
ch. 1881
b. 1869
Blue Ribbon

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