Combustion hails from an international family descended from the Raise a Native mare Luv Luvin'. A muscular sprinter who was stakes-placed twice as a 3-year-old, she was the only black-type runner produced by her dam, the Bold Lad mare Ringing Bells, who was from a notable family developed by Greentree Stud and was a half sister to 1969 American champion 2-year-old male Silent Screen.
By an American 2-year-old champion out of a mare sired by an American 2-year-old champion and with an "uncle" who was a similar champion, Luv Luvin' came by a proclivity for speed honestly, though she did not inherit the talent of her top male relatives. Nonetheless, her deep pedigree was good enough for the broodmare band of Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos, and she made good use of her access to stallions who were high-end racehorses and sires, producing three stakes-winning fillies as well as three more daughters that produced stakes winners.
Luv Luvin' produced listed stakes winners Nijinsky's Lover and Dixie Fine to covers by English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky II and French champion miler L'Emigrant, respectively, and Nijinsky's Lover went on to produce 1999 Bashford Manor Stakes (USA-G2) winner Dance Master (by Gone West) and 1999 San Simeon Handicap (USA-G3) winner Naninja (by Alysheba). Dixie Fine also had some importance as a broodmare, becoming the second dam of 2018 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (USA-G1) winner Stormy Liberal and multiple Grade 2 winner Leinster. Even so, it was Luv Luvin's matings to multiple French champion Irish River that created the best part of her legacy.
Luv Luvin produced four foals by Irish River, all fillies, and the first was the best on the race course. This was the 1983 filly Or Vision, winner of listed stakes in France at ages 2 and 3. In true international style, she produced Grade or Group 1 winners in three different countries: Dolphin Street (by Bluebird) won the 1993 Prix de la Forêt (FR-G1), Insight (by Sadler's Wells) won the 1999 E. P. Taylor Stakes (CAN-G1), and Saffron Walden (by Sadler's Wells) won the 1999 Irish Two Thousand Guineas (IRE-G1). Or Vision is also the second dam of multiple German Group 3 winner Matchwinner.
Listed juvenile stakes winner Litani River, a foal of 1986, was the next of Luv Luvin's foals by Irish River, and she also proved a good broodmare, producing 2008 Concorde Stakes (IRE-G3) winner Psalm (by Sadler's Wells) and listed stakes winner Queen Titi (by Sadler's Wells), dam of 2009 Dewhurst Stakes (ENG-G1) winner Beethoven (by Oratorio). Litani River was followed by Mud Wrestling (1989), a winner twice from 13 starts.
Mud Wrestling did nothing further to burnish the family reputation, but her full sister Brigid (1991) made up for her lacks. A winner once in five tries, Brigid produced listed stakes winner Oyster Catcher (by Bluebird) as her first foal. Lady Windermere (by Lake Coniston), dam of listed stakes winner Absolutelyfabulous (by Mozart), came next, and she is the second dam of 2013 Irish Two Thousand Guineas (IRE-G1) and Breeders' Cup Turf (USA-G1) winner Magician (by Galileo) and his Grade 3-winning full sister Apple Betty; she is also the third dam of 2021 San Marcos Stakes (USA-G2) winner Masteroffoxhounds.
Brigid went on to produce 2000 Moyglare Stud Stakes (IRE-G1) winner Sequoyah and 2007 Fillies' Mile Stakes (ENG-G1) winner Listen, both by Sadler's Wells. The former is the dam of Henrythenavigator (by Kingmambo), whose four Group 1 wins include the 2008 Two Thousand Guineas and Irish Two Thousand Guineas, and of Irish Group 3 winner Queen Cleopatra (by Kingmambo), dam of multiple Australian Group 3 winner Francis of Assisi (by Danehill Dancer); Listen is the dam of Japanese Group 2 winner Touching Speech (by Deep Impact) and Group 1-placed Japanese listed winner Satono Lux (by Deep Impact). Brigid is also the dam of stakes producers Nazym (by Galileo; dam of 2019 Musidora Stakes, ENG-G3 winner Nausha, by Kingman), Height of Elegance (by Galileo; dam of 2021 Marshua's River Stakes, USA-G3, winner Zoffelle, by Zoffany, and Irish listed stakes winner Queenship, by Excelebration), and Brigids Cross (by Sadler's Wells; dam of English listed stakes winner We Are Ninety).
Oyster Catcher failed to match her sisters' achievements in the breeding shed but did produce Aquarista (by Coronado's Quest), dam of multiple Japanese listed stakes winner Fashionista (by Street Sense). Aquarista is also the dam of Smoldering (by 2009 Forego Stakes, USA-G1, winner Pyro), a winner who produced Combustion as her second foal.
Even if he makes it to Churchill Downs, Combustion will likely be a considerable longshot. No horse that has prepped for the Kentucky Derby in Japan or Dubai has hit the board yet in the Run for the Roses, and Combustion does not seem a likely bet to outdo those who have gone before him; this has been a family more inclined to produce milers and good juveniles than horses that can stay classic distances, and Discreet Cat---himself a brilliant miler---is unlikely to have contributed enough stamina to stretch the speed of Luv Luvin's family out to 10 furlongs. Nonetheless, he may be an interesting colt to watch this spring. In the meantime, if history is any indication, look for this family to continue spreading more "luv" around the world.