The Story of Dustwhirl, the Dam Of Whirlaway

Updated: Sep 5, 2019


Dustwhirl and Whirlaway. Keeneland Library Thayer Collection. This image is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in print or electronically without written permission of the Keeneland Library.

Foaled in Kentucky in 1926 was a filly that racing fans would soon come to know, though not for her accomplishments on the racetrack. In fact, this filly would never race at all. Dustwhirl (as she would come to be named) is known for being the dam of 1941 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway.


Dustwhirl was bred and owned by Joseph E. Widener. She was sired by Sweep, 1909’s Champion Two-Year Old and 1910’s Champion Three-Year Old. She was out of Ormanda, a daughter of Superman.


Unfortunately for Mr. Widener, Dustwhirl was high-strung. She was an attractive mare, though, and so she joined his broodmare band. She had three foals for Mr. Widener. The first was Feudal Lord, a 1930 colt by Stephan The Great. Feudal Lord went on to win multiple stakes races. That was definitely not bad for her first foal.


Her second foal was a filly named Dustsweep, born in 1931, sired by Chance Shot. Dustsweep went on to become the second dam of In Reserve.


Dustwhirl’s last foal for Mr. Widener was another filly by Chance Shot named Panoramic. She failed to win any races but went on to be a top producer. She is the dam of Honeymoon, Pedigree, and Hemisphere. She is also the second dam of five stakes winners!


After her third foal was born, Mr. Widener sold Dustwhirl to Claiborne Farm. There she produced four more foals. Among these foals was Reaping Reward by Sickle, Lost Horizon by Sir Gallahad II, and King’s Choice.


When Dustwhirl was sold to Calumet Farm, she was in foal with one of the greatest horses U.S. Horse Racing has ever seen. For just $12,000, Calumet owned Dustwhirl and Whirlaway. Like his dam, Whirlaway was a quirky horse. He could be nervous and high-strung and had a few odd habits like bearing out in the stretch of his races. However, his Triple Crown sweep made Dustwhirl a name that will forever roll off the tongues of horse racing fans and historians everywhere.


Dustwhirl had her final foal in 1946. All in all, she had 12 foals. 10 of them raced and 8 had been winners. Many of her daughters had went on to produce great horses as well. Clearly, the ability to produce winners was coursing through her bloodstream.


The dams of our great racehorses are so often overlooked. However, they are perhaps the most important part of breeding. It is they who pass down the mtDNA, which is responsible for producing ATP (giving our racehorses energy for exercise). They are also the ones who raise our Thoroughbreds, ensuring that they grow into strong and and healthy horses.


Dustwhirl lived out her final days at Calumet Farm, passing away in 1946. Because of her contributions to horse racing, she will never be forgotten.


[Video: Dustwhirl's greatest foal, Whirlaway]




Author - Kaeli Bartholomew: I run Champions of the Track as a way to spread the love of horse racing through writing, photography, and videography. The best way to increase the popularity and respect for this sport is by sharing stories and memories! Thank you for joining me on my mission to save and grow the sport of horse racing.




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Sources: American Classic Pedigrees All Breed Pedigrees

National Museum of Racing Hall Of Fame