Here the Lysters bred champion Runhappy, who clinched an Eclipse Award when rolling in track-record time in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at nearby Keeneland. Runhappy, now a stallion at Claiborne Farm, is the sire of Derby contender Smile Happy.
Wayne, who bred $1.8 million-earner Lu Ravi in his own right, is the co-breeder of transatlantic star Johannesburg. Europe’s top juvenile of 2001 made a scintillating dirt debut in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Belmont Park to become an American champion as well. But Johannesburg’s legacy is even greater at stud, particularly as the sire of Scat Daddy and grandsire of Triple Crown winner Justify.
Wayne’s partner in breeding Johannesburg, Jayeff B Stables, was then the nom de course of his decades-long friend Santulli and George Prussin. Jayeff B is best known for campaigning champion Safely Kept, who beat shadow-jumping Dayjur in a memorable 1990 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Santulli, in the name of his Colts Neck Stables, has bred such top performers as 2013 Preakness (G1) hero Oxbow, 2015 Belmont Derby (G1) victor Force the Pass, and multiple Grade 2 scorers Fed Biz and Venetian Harbor. A great-great granddaughter of Safely Kept, Venetian Harbor is among her descendants born and raised at Ashview.
The Lyster family and Santulli partner in some broodmares, and two acquisitions have turned out to be pivotal. Both were homebreds from Leonard Riggio’s My Meadowview. Both had been trained by Graham Motion. Callingmissbrown would ultimately become the dam of Mo Donegal, and Marion Ravenwood would go on to produce Nest.
Callingmissbrown, a daughter of Pulpit and Grade 1-winning millionaire Island Sand, won two of four starts. Her debut score at Delaware Park was particularly notable, since she got off flat-footed in the six-furlong maiden, then had her rider lose the stirrups when the left iron broke. Jockey Larry Mejias did well to maintain his balance in the saddle, as Callingmissbrown decided to launch a sustained move and dragged him to the front on the far turn. She worked out her own winning trip, holding on by a half-length, with Mejias doing all he could in the circumstances.
Later, Callingmissbrown joined the Ashview band as a private purchase. At that time, she was carrying her first foal, who would arrive in 2018.
“She was a great physical, very solid pedigree that is still active, and she was in foal to Speightstown,” Bryan Lyster said of the acquisition. “We have done a lot of business with Joe Miller and Lincoln Collins who work as agent for My Meadowview, so we knew we were dealing with good people.”
The stakes-winning A.P. Indy mare Marion Ravenwood was a $400,000 purchase at the 2017 Keeneland November Sale. Then a nine-year-old, she was offered in foal to Pioneerof the Nile. That baby turned out to be multiple stakes-placed Dr Jack.
Her new owners bred Marion Ravenwood back to Curlin, and she delivered a bay filly at Ashview on April 8, 2019. By the fall of her yearling year, her older full brother, named Idol, began to turn heads. Idol would score his signature win in the 2021 Santa Anita H. (G1). We now know his baby sister as Nest (pictured below).
Meanwhile, Callingmissbrown, whose first foal was the minor winner Bluegrass Belle, subsequently visited Uncle Mo. She produced her bay colt on April 19, 2019. The future Mo Donegal, like Nest, stood out from the crowd.
“Both were very athletic-looking compared to most of the other yearlings,” Bryan Lyster recalled. “Their athleticism just stood out, especially Nest. “They were also both very intelligent and alert all the time.”
In addition to being foaled and raised at Ashview, the two were in the same shedrow at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The colt went through the ring first as Hip No. 903, selling for $250,000 to Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing. Hence his name, Mo Donegal. Nest, cataloged as Hip 1065, commanded $350,000 from Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Repole Stable.
Welcome to the family hip 903! pic.twitter.com/55eBWzSnKK— Donegal Racing (@DonegalRacing) September 17, 2020
Mo Donegal graduated to trainer Todd Pletcher’s string at Saratoga, where he recorded his first official move on June 15. Nest, herself slated for the Pletcher barn, settled into his division at Belmont Park. There the Ashview babies would eventually reunite last fall.
Nest made it to the races first, romping by five lengths in a 1 1/16-mile maiden Sept. 25. Mo Donegal was unveiled five days later, but in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint, and got going belatedly in third. Up to 1 1/16 miles for an Oct. 21 maiden, Mo Donegal rallied to win. Nest returned to action in the one-mile Tempted S. on Nov. 5, found the distance a bit short, and closed steadily for third.
Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo)— Donegal Racing (@DonegalRacing) June 23, 2021
Trainer: Todd Pletcher pic.twitter.com/ltlYOyju5K
Foal photos of Nest and Mo Donegal courtesy of Ashview Farm
For detailed historical information on Derby and Oaks winners, see Avalyn Hunter's AmericanClassicPedigrees.com