In the 1930s, The Greenbrier sported a polo club. The club played teams from Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Winston-Salem, Middleburg, Virginia, and the War Department. Shown in this 1933 photo are Leslie Combs 2nd, L. L. McClure, Andrew Winters, and Captain Tom Harris.
Combs was one of the mainstays of the club. Born in Kentucky in 1901, he attended Greenbrier Military School. He founded the Combs & Ritter Insurance Company in Huntington and married the very wealthy Dorothy Enslow of Huntington. In 1937, with money from an inheritance and proceeds of the sale of his insurance agency, he bought a 127-acre farm in Lexington, Kentucky, and named it Spendthrift Farm. He became one of the leading owners and breeders of thoroughbred horses. He perfected the art of syndicating stallions, and Spendthrift was once the home to Seattle Slew and Affirmed, two Triple Crown winners. Spendthrift Farm eventually fell into bankruptcy, the Combs family lost ownership, and Combs died in 1990.
Photo from The Portico courtesy of the Greenbrier Historic Society.
Sources: Hinton Daily News, New York Times, Lexington Herald-Leader.