Breeders Ashview Farm, Santulli Hit Remsen-Demoiselle Double

Gray Lyster ThoroStride


It was 32 minutes that breeders Richard Santulli and the Lyster family will not soon forget. That was all the time it took for the partnership, which owns a limited number of mares, to have bred the winners of two graded stakes races on the same day at the same racetrack.

The feat occurred Saturday at Aqueduct where the Lysters' Ashview Farm and Santulli's Colts Neck Stables bred the winners of the GII Demoiselle S. and the GII Remsen S., contested as the eighth and ninth races on the Big A card. It began in the Remsen with Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo) and continued with Nest (Curlin) in the Demoiselle.

“My family has been around long enough to know this was a really special accomplishment because it's so hard to breed a graded stakes winner,” said Gray Lyster, who runs Ashview, located in Versailles, Kentucky, with his father Wayne, his mother Muffy and his brother Bryan. “To breed two and to win two-late season 2-year-old races in New York that everyone is watching back to back on the same day is a perfect storm. That doesn't happen very often, so we are enjoying it.”

Santulli and Wayne Lyster are friends who have known each other for about 40 years and have been long-time partners. Wayne Lyster and Santulli's Jayeff “B” Stables were the breeders of Eclipse Award and GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Johannesburg and they also teamed up to breed Sweet Loretta (Tapit), the winner of the 2016 GI Spinaway S.

They're always on the lookout for good mares. They bought Marion Ravenwood (A.P. Indy), the dam of Nest, who was in foal to Pioneerof the Nile, for $400,000 ast the 2017 Keeneland November sale. Callingmissbrown (Pulpit), the dam of Mo Donegal, was bought privately. From there, it's a pretty simple formula–breed to the best stallions out there. (Marion Ravenwood will be bred to Curlin in 2022, and the partnership hasn't finalized plans for Callingmissbrown.)

“We really try to stay in our lane when it comes to breeding,” Lyster said. “We like to breed to really good, top, proven stallions. If not that, we will play the first-year market. Uncle Mo and Curlin are no-brainers for us. They are obviously good stallions and everybody should be using them.”

Mo Donegal was purchased for $250,000 at Keeneland September and races for Donegal Stable. Trained by Todd Pletcher, he broke his maiden in his second career start before stretching out to the mile-and-an-eighth in the Remsen. With Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, he won by a nose and had to survive a stewards' inquiry.

Nest races for the partnership of Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House and cost $350,000 at the same Keeneland September sale. Also trained by Pletcher and ridden by Ortiz, the Demoiselle was her third career start and came after a third-place finish in the Tempted S. She was also a narrow winner, scoring by a neck.

“That was something else,” Santulli said. “What a fun afternoon.”

It was the second straight year that Pletcher won the Demoiselle with a daughter of Curlin after winning the race last year with likely 3-year-old filly champion Malathaat (Curlin).

At this year's Keeneland September sale, Ashview and Colts Neck sold an Into Mischief filly who is a half-sister to Mo Donegal for $500,000. They also sold a colt by Violence who is a half-brother to Nest for $275,000.

The two yearlings give the Santulli-Lyster partnership something to look forward to in 2022, and so do Nest and Mo Donegal. They've both won graded stakes races around two turns, which bodes well for the GI Kentucky Oaks and the GI Kentucky Derby.

“That's what we're dreaming of, the Oaks and the Derby,” Lyster said. “How can you not? I don't want to say it is surreal, but we kind of had to pinch ourselves Saturday. We're really excited. Even if we don't make it to the Derby or Oaks, what we did Saturday was already a huge accomplishment.”

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