Ashview Farm’s Lyster Sings Praises of G2 Beldame Favorite Nest

October 7, 2022

“It’s a sense of accomplishment every time she runs”

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Three-time Grade 1 winner Nest has demonstrated class in each of her nine starts ahead of her first try against elders in Sunday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Beldame at Belmont at the Big A. Gray Lyster of breeder Ashview Farm said the talented 3-year-old daughter of Curlin, out of stakes-winning A.P. Indy mare Marion Ravenwood, was destined for greatness.

“She was just always a really nice filly,” Lyster said. “The mare is a queen of a mare and Nest immediately stood up the morning she was born and we thought, ‘Wow she’s really athletic and beautiful looking’ and it just continued on throughout the year and a half we had her. She was always smooth, always athletic. She was one of the fillies in the paddock you never had trouble with, but it wasn’t like she was some pushover either. She was definitely one of the leaders in the pack.”

Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House’s Nest enters the nine-furlong Beldame off a sweep of the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 1 Alabama this summer at Saratoga Race Course, winning both races by open lengths while hand ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. A runner-up in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes against colts, she captured her first Grade 1 victory in the Ashland in April at Keeneland.

Lyster, who co-manages the family farm in Versailles, Kentucky with his brother, Bryan, said he was always a strong believer in Nest’s potential.

“If they were all like Nest, it would be so easy. She never had a problem, an x-ray issue, did anything silly or was difficult to handle,” Lyster said. “Mentally, she was as wonderful as she was physically. I would say that has a lot to do with why she’s become such a good racehorse. She was a pleasure to be around.”

Nest was consigned by Ashview at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where Lyster said she parlayed her professional attitude from the farm to the sales grounds.

“At the sale, you see all these yearlings jumping around acting crazy, but it’s the first time they’ve been off the farm. She was one of the ones that wasn’t bothered,” Lyster said. “She was just checking out what was going on. She wasn’t some pushover that was going to do whatever you told her, but she was just standing at attention and looking at everything happening around her the entire way. That’s one of the little things that breeders can pick up on that anyone else seeing a horse for the first time wouldn’t be able to. It’s like which one comes into the sale and acts like they have presence and you don’t have to be so careful with every two seconds. Nest was just like, ‘This is what I’m supposed to do, let’s do it.’”

But while she boasted a blue-blooded pedigree and carried herself well, she only brought $350,000.

“She was a really nice filly, but at the sale, she wasn’t one of these monster huge fillies that brings seven figures and people were all over,” Lyster recalled. “She was a beautiful medium-sized Curlin filly who had no faults whatsoever, but was just a tad bit unassuming. We were disappointed that she only brought what she did, she was so well put together. You just can’t measure that heart and desire sometimes and this is partially the case. She’s just so cool. We get to sit back and enjoy a couple of years of her racing. It’s a pleasure, it’s flattering and it’s a sense of accomplishment every time she runs.”

Mo Donegal wins the Belmont, defeating Nest (NYRA/Coglianese)

Nest wasn’t the only subsequent prominent racehorse in the Ashview consignment that year. Mo Donegal, Nest’s stablemate who defeated her by three lengths in the Belmont Stakes, was stabled right next to her at the consignment barn during the sale. Mo Donegal, a son of Uncle Mo out of the Pulpit mare Callingmissbrown, brought $250,000 at the sale and was bought by Donegal Racing.

Both Nest and Mo Donegal captured their final starts last year, respectively winning the Grade 2 Demoiselle and Grade 2 Remsen on December 4 at the Big A.

“How fortunate are we as the breeders to just be a part of that? My family has done this long enough to realize how special and unlikely this is, and we’re all enjoying every moment of it,” Lyster said. “They won the Demoiselle and Remsen back-to-back with the same trainer, same jockey, from the same farm and from the same Book 2 consignment in stalls right next to each other at the sale and then they run one-two in the Belmont. You just can’t make that stuff up.”

Lyster specifically recalled watching Nest’s Alabama performance on television and said he was very impressed with how she handled herself in the paddock.

“She took everything in stride and that’s one of the things we loved about her,” Lyster said. “I was watching with some friends and they were like, ‘Look at her, she’s just standing there looking around.’ To me, that’s just a presence you don’t see very often. Fifty percent of her ability is mental, or at least a huge part of it.”

Lightning could strike twice for Lyster this weekend as Nest’s half-brother Lost Ark, by Violence, is racing in Saturday’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. Also trained by Pletcher, Lost Ark won on debut in June at Belmont Park before passing his first two-turn test with aplomb in the Sapling on August 27 at Monmouth Park, winning by 7 1/2 lengths. Lost Ark is owned by Harrell Ventures.

“He’s done nothing wrong so far. We’re really excited about him,” Lyster said. “I love that Todd picked out his program for that colt way back in the middle of the summer by just giving the horse the chance to run two turns in his second start and it’s setting up nicely for a big couple of races. Hopefully, he’s that quality of a horse.”

Prank breaks her maiden in impressive fashion at Saratoga (NYRA/Coglianese)

Lyster spoke volumes of Pletcher, a frequent visitor at the Ashview consignment. In addition to Nest, Mo Donegal and Lost Ark, Pletcher also currently trains Prank – an Into Mischief half-sister to Mo Donegal, who broke her maiden by 9 3/4 lengths on July 31 at Saratoga. Pletcher also trains Ashview Farm-bred Untreated, who was twice graded stakes placed this year.

“We had five really darn impressive horses that are now in Todd’s barn so you can imagine who my favorite trainer is right now,” Lyster quipped. “It’s cool to see one outfit have this much success with your offspring. It makes you feel really good, it’s just flattering. [Bloodstock agent] Jacob West bought 80 percent of my Book 2 consignment, four out of five horses. They’ll likely go to Todd and I think they’re trying to repeat.”

Nest’s dam Marion Ravenwood does not have a yearling or weanling on the ground, but she is in foal to Curlin. Marion Ravenwood is nominated to the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, where she is listed as Hip No. 187.

“We have the mare nominated to the November Sale and there’s a good chance someone else will own her next month. To me, she’s potentially a Broodmare of the Year. We’ll see what Lost Ark does and what happens in the next few weeks,” Lyster said.

NYRA Press Office

Main photo: Nest wins the Alabama (NYRA/Coglianese)


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