Bloodlines Presented By Mill Ridge Farm: Ballet Dancing's Success Is A Homecoming For Her Family - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Bloodlines Presented By Mill Ridge Farm: Ballet Dancing’s Success Is A Homecoming For Her Family

Ballet Dancing, with Flavien Prat aboard, wins the G3 Santa Ana

When Ballet Dancing came home first in the Grade 3 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita, it was a very good result for the owners – Westerberg, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith – but it was an even better result for the breeders, Ashview Farm and Old Oak Farm.

Wayne Lyster and his family are Ashview Farm, and Kelly and George Davis are Old Oak Farm. The Davises own one broodmare, the Unbridled's Song producer Fully Living, who's the dam of Ballet Dancing.

Lyster said that “Fully Living is a big, good-looking mare, and she gets great-looking foals. We've been very lucky with her and have had a great time.” He chuckled and continued, “It's easy to have a good time when you're making money.”

The co-owners and co-breeders have grossed nearly $3.5 million from the foals of Fully Living, including a Justify filly they sold last year at the Keeneland September sale for $1.05 million. That filly ranked third among the highest prices for a yearling by Justify in 2022.

Ballet Dancing, in contrast, was “only” the fifth-highest price among the yearlings of 2020 by Medaglia d'Oro, but she is the most accomplished of that elite quintet to date. Fully Living's foal preceding Ballet Dancing, the Nyquist colt Untreated, sold for $550,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September sale, and he was the top-priced yearling by the sire. Untreated was third in the G3 Suburban and the Pimlico Special in 2022.

The decision that first set all this in motion came more than three decades ago with the purchase of an older broodmare, the multiple stakes winner Knitted Gloves (White Gloves). Knitted Gloves was bred in Kentucky by Robert E. Lehmann and was sold by Golden Chance Farm and Lehmann family for $9,000 at the Keeneland November sale in 1989.

The buyer was Wayne G. Lyster.

On the racetrack, Knitted Gloves had been the most notable racer for the stallion White Gloves, who was a good winner (Irish St. Leger, Desmond Stakes, Ballymoss Stakes) while racing in Ireland, and was by the Hyperion stallion High Hat out of a daughter of the great American champion mare Gallorette.

Racing from age two through five, Knitted Gloves had been a graded stakes winner in the first year of the program's operation in the States, winning the Grade 3 Magnolia Stakes at Oaklawn in 1973, as well as other stakes, including the Fantasy and Fair Grounds Oaks, that were subsequently graded.

In all, Knitted Gloves won 22 of 79 starts, was 15 times second, 10 times third, and earned $231,376. What a hardy, admirable racemare she proved; nor was Knitted Gloves done.

As a broodmare, Knitted Gloves produced Spruce Needles (Big Spruce), winner of the G1 Arlington Handicap; Dusty Gloves (Run Dusty Run), winner of the Cumberland Handicap; Big E.Z. (Slew o' Gold), who was second in the G3 Lousiana Derby; and At the Half (Seeking the Gold), winner of the G3 Golden Rod Stakes, as well as the Bassinet, Colleen, and Pocahontas.

At the time that Lyster bought Knitted Gloves, the mare's first two stakes winners were already on the catalog page, and Big E.Z. was a 2-year-old.

“I bought Knitted Gloves because I knew that Golden Chance had bred some really nice horses, especially tough horses, and I loved her sturdiness,” Lyster said. “She had some age on her (19), she was barren, and the market just walked away from her.”

And Lyster profited.

He said, “I'd just bought a share in Seeking the Gold, and I bred her to him.” The result was At the Half, a classy filly and one of the early stakes winners by Seeking the Gold.

At the Half was a talented filly who won five of her eight starts while racing for Robert Crabtree and Lyster. She produced Lu Ravi from a mating with Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, and that dark bay athlete began a racing career that featured stakes victories at three, four, five, and six. In the meantime, Lyster sent At the Half to the November sale in foal to Storm Cat, and she brought $950,000 from Will Farish. At the same sale, Lyster sold the mare's foal, a filly by leading sire Deputy Minister for $325,000 to Wertheimer et Frere. Named Half Queen, that filly won a maiden special at Santa Anita in her second start, trained by Dick Mandella for the Wertheimers.

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That happened when Lu Ravi was a yearling, and subsequently Lu Ravi won 11 of 26 starts, with eight seconds and three thirds, for earnings of $1,819,781. She twice won at the G2 level (Molly Pitcher and Cotillion), was three times second in a G1 (Apple Blossom twice and the Alabama), among other stakes victories and placings.

Half Queen retired to stud in 2000, and her first foal was a dark daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled. Named Halfbridled was unbeaten in four starts at two, including three stakes: G1 Del Mar Debutante, G2 Oak Leaf, and G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. She won the Eclipse as the best filly of her age, and more than a few thought she was the best 2-year-old, period.

When Halfbridled's half-sister came to the sales as a broodmare prospect, Lyster bought back into this family for the second time, acquiring Half A.P. (Pulpit) for $825,000 at the 2007 Keeneland November sale. The broodmare prospect was consigned by Hagyard Farm, agent for the Wertheimers, and for her breeders, Half A.P. had made a single start, finishing third at Keeneland as a 3-year-old.

Ashview sold the foals out of Half A.P., including Fully Living, who brought $425,000 from Spendthrift Farm as a yearling at Keeneland September. The following year, this daughter of Unbridled's Song won on debut at Belmont in May, then proceeded to finish fourth in the G3 Schuylerville, third in the G2 Adirondack, second in the listed Meadow Star.

Fully Living appeared to train off at the end of her juvenile season and was off racing for more than six months. In the interim, “Fully Living became available to purchase, and we bought her privately from Spendthrift and continued to race her,” Lyster said. Racing for Ashview and Old Oak Farm, Fully Living never won a stakes but finished second in the Miss Woodford at three, then in the Pippin Stakes at four.

Back home at Ashview, Fully Living has continued the amazing history of her family with that of the Lysters, and there is more to come.

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