Unofficial Thoroughbred Hall of Fame

Two Lea

Owned and bred by Calumet Farm, Two Lea raced for the legendary stable at a time when her stablemates included Citation, Coaltown, Bewitch, Armed, and Hill Gail. When she was two, Citation won the Triple Crown, and during her three-year-old season, Coaltown was Horse of the Year.

A daughter of leading sire Bull Lea, Two Lea was out of Two Bob, the 1936 Kentucky Oaks winner and a daughter of The Porter. Two Bob had already produced the stakes winning filly Twosy, and later produced Miz Clementine, whose sixteen wins included the Hollywood Oaks, the California Oaks, the California Derby, the Vagrancy Handicap, and the Cinema Handicap.

As a yearling, Two Lea developed ringbone, and the lameness kept her away from the races for most of her juvenile season. It wasn't until late August that she made her first start, running third in a five and a half furlong maiden special weight at Washington Park.

She was third again three weeks later at Belmont Park, then finally showed her true colors five days later, easily coasting home four lengths ahead in a six furlong maiden special weight over the Widener Course. She was then given the rest of the season off.

Two Lea came back as a three-year-old with a stirring allowance victory at Havre de Grace. She came from well back to claim first money in a hard stretch drive, beating a filly called Gambler by a nose. She won another allowance race a month later at Belmont Park, this time by three-quarters of a length.

Her first stakes race came three weeks later at Arlington, when Two Lea went postward for the Princess Doreen Stakes. Second at the top of the stretch, Two Lea came driving home to beat No Strings by a length and a quarter. Third place finisher Alsab's Day was another eight lengths back.

Next time out, Two Lea met older fillies and mares in the Modesty Stakes, but it was another three-year-old, No Strings, that beat her to the wire. Two Lea was a half length behind in second, with Dandilly third. It was her only loss of the season, and she had conceded ten pounds to the winner.

In the one mile Cleopatra Stakes, Two Lea met Wistful, the leading filly on the east coast and also a fellow Calumet homebred. With victories in the Kentucky Oaks, the Pimlico Oaks, and the Coaching Club American Oaks, Wistful was the leading contender for divisional honors.

Two Lea proved the better filly that day, however, galloping off to a five length lead before being eased, and finally winning by two lengths while her illustrious stablemate was beaten a neck for second money.

Next came an impressive victory in the seven furlong Artful Stakes at Washington Park. Trailing the field in the early going, Two Lea closed strongly to win by a length and a half. Her track record time of 1:21 4/5 was only two-fifths shy of the world record.

The filly was then given four months off. Two Lea's final race of 1949 would more accurately be described as the beginning of her four-year-old campaign, as it was an allowance race at Santa Anita on December 29. She won, with the top mare But Why Not, who had earned divisional honors as a three-year-old in 1947, finishing third.

Two Lea shared the title of Champion Three-Year-Old Filly with her stablemate Wistful, who had won at longer distances, although neither filly had finished the season.

A week after the allowance victory, Two Lea officially raced as a four-year-old, winning an overnight handicap by a game neck while giving six pounds to runner up Gaffery. Next she carried the high weight of 126 pounds in the mile and an eighth Santa Margarita Handicap. Despite a muddy track, Two Lea came home the two length winner over Gaffery and But Why Not.

Two Lea met the boys for the first time in the Santa Anita Maturity at a mile and a quarter. She was ridden by Eddie Arcaro for the first and only time in her career. The filly held the lead to the head of the stretch, but when stablemate Ponder, the previous year's Kentucky Derby winner, moved up to challenge, she was not pushed. Ponder came home the winner, with Two Lea second.

Two Lea met Ponder again in the Santa Anita Handicap. She also faced the great Citation in the race, and all three of Calumet's stars were asked to give weight to Noor.

Charles S. Howard's son of Nasrullah was to be the handicap champion of 1950, and his record breaking duels with Citation that season are now legendary. His deeds would help inspire the importation of his sire, Nasrullah, who would lead the American sire's list five times. Yet all that was yet to come when Santa Anita's handicapper set down the weights for the Big Cap of 1950, and Noor got away with carrying only 110 pounds.

Even the mighty Citation couldn't catch the lightly weighted Noor, put all three Calumet entries gave it a game try. Citation, carrying 132 pounds, was second. Two Lea was a length back, gamely fighting off Ponder to finish third by a neck.

Two Lea got another four months off, returning to the races at Arlington in July. She ran just once, in an overnight handicap. Forced wide, she ended up second while conceding seven pounds to the winner, Porter's Broom. Two Lea then got another long layoff while she recovered from having her ringbone pinfired, as was the treatment of the day.

Her performances that winter were enough to merit the title of Champion Handicap Mare of 1950.

At the age of six Two Lea staged a comeback, running out of the money at Golden Gate and then winning an allowance event at Hollywood Park. After running second by a neck to stablemate Jennie Lee in another allowance race, Two Lea returned to stakes company.

She was second to another stablemate, Twilight Tear's daughter A Gleam, in the Milady Handicap. Then she won the Vanity Handicap from her old rival Wistful, despite giving away ten pounds, with Jennie Lee third.

After a fourth place effort in the Inglewood Handicap, Two Lea won the Ramona Handicap by a length while Princess Lygia dead heated with Ruth Lily for second money.

Next came the finest race of her career. Two Lea gave thirteen pounds to runner up Cyclotron in winning the Hollywood Gold Cup by a half length. Her time for the mile and a quarter was a quick 2:00 1/5.

Two Lea wins
          the 1952 Hollywood Gold Cup

That fall, Two Lea raced at Bay Meadows, winning both the San Mateo Handicap and the Children's Hospital Handicap while carrying top weight. She was second in her final race, the Bay Meadows Handicap, while conceding eleven pounds to the winner, Moonrush, whom she had beaten previously. Two Lea was retired to Calumet.

As a broodmare, Two Lea produced dual classic winner Tim Tam, Champion Three Year Old Colt in 1958 and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1985. Her son On-and-On won the Brooklyn Handicap, the Ohio Derby, the Tropical Park Handicap, and a number of other stakes. His full brother Pied D'Or was also a stakes winner, scoring in the Camden, Paumonok, and Princeton Handicaps.

Two Lea passed away in 1973, and was buried at Calumet Farm. She entered racing's Hall of Fame in 1982.

Two Lea's Race Record

Year Starts Wins Seconds Thirds Earnings
Lifetime 26 15 6 3 $309,250

Two Lea, 1946 bay filly

Bull Lea Bull Dog Teddy Ajax
Plucky Liege Spearmint
Rose Leaves Ballot Voter
Colonial Trenton
Thankful Blossom
Two Bob The Porter Sweep Ben Brush
Pink Domino
Ballet Girl St. Leonards
Blessings Chicle Spearmint
Lady Hamburg II
Mission Bells Friar Rock


Recommended titles include: Champions from the Daily Racing Form, Thoroughbred Champions: Top 100 of the 20th Century from Blood-Horse, and Man O' War: Thoroughbred Legends #1 by Edward L. Bowen, as well as Seabiscuit on DVD .
Seabiscuit DVD

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