By Jessica Martini on 10/28/2016 7:41 AM

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Gio Ponti with Ramon Dominguez up wins the 2010 Man O' War Stakes at Belmont Park, NY 7.10.2010

Shane Ryan & Gio Ponti | Horsephotos


Castleton Lyons, which twice came close to Breeders’ Cup success with champion Gio Ponti, could have its first winner on championship weekend as breeder of GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile contender Gormley (Malibu Moon), while young stallion Gio Ponti could have a Breeders’ Cup winner of his own with GI Sprint contender Drefong. Two days after the championship event at Santa Anita, the farm will offer Gormley’s weanling half-brother by Gio Ponti at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale.

"Breeding a Breeders’ Cup winner–it would be huge for the farm,” Castleton Lyons’s Equine Manager Jaime Frost said. "Gormley is a Grade I winner now and any time you can breed a Grade I winner, it’s definitely exciting.”

Castleton Lyons raced Gormley’s second dam Miss Mambo (Kingmambo), who was third in the 2004 G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, as well as his stakes-winning dam Race to Urga (Bernstein). Both mares, as well as Race to Urga’s half-sister Talihina Sky (Malibu Moon), are still part of the farm’s 50-strong broodmare band.

Gormley is the first foal out of Race to Urga, who captured the 2012 Wait a While S. at Gulfstream Park.

"He was always a nice strong foal and we were always happy with him,” Frost said of Gormley. "He prepped up good for the sales. We didn’t get him sold in the ring, but the eventual owners came back and bought him after the sale and it’s obviously it’s worked out very well for them.”

Gormley was led out unsold for $150,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September sale before being purchased privately by Jerry and Ann Moss. A debut winner at Del Mar in September, he stepped up to Grade I company to take the Oct. 1 GI FrontRunner S. and earn his spot in the Breeders’ Cup starting gate.

Through the Paramount Sales consignment, Castleton Lyons will offer Gormley’s weanling half-brother as hip 49 at the November sale.

"He’s a nice horse,” Frost said of the Apr. 30 foal. "He’s a good Gio Ponti, he’s very correct. He’s a later foal and a horse who will definitely improve with time.”

Frost admitted the plan wasn’t always to send the weanling through the November sales ring.

"When Gormley showed up, we thought it would be a good spot to put him in the sale and capitalize,” he explained.

Castleton Lyons’s Breeders’ Cup rooting interest doesn’t end with Gormley. Gio Ponti came up against a pair of star mares when he was runner-up in back-to-back Breeders’ Cup, first finishing second behind Zenyatta in the 2009 GI Breeders’ Cup Classic and then coming up 1 3/4 lengths short of Goldikova in the 2010 GI Breeders’ Cup Mile. The stallion, who stands at Castleton Lyons and is represented by his first crop of 3-year-olds this year, will have his own runner in the Breeders’ Cup as GI King’s Bishop S. winner Drefong goes postward in the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Castleton Lyons, which started in the Bluegrass with the purchase of the historic Ironworks Pike property by the late Dr. Tony Ryan in 2001 and is now under the stewardship of his son Shane Ryan, is focused on taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.

"We do a bit of everything,” Frost explained. "We retain to race, we sell as yearlings and we sell as foals. Like everyone else, we pick the best spot for them and try to be smart about it.”

One example of that philosophy is another Fasig November offering from the farm, the 5-year-old mare Tapas (Tapit) (hip 91). Castleton Lyons purchased Tapas, in foal to Distorted Humor, for $750,000 out of the Regis Farm dispersal at last year’s Keeneland November sale.

The unraced mare is a half-sister to Justwhistledixie (Dixie Union), dam of GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day (Street Cry {Ire}), and the purchase came just as the mare’s then 2-year-old Mohaymen (Tapit) was making a name for himself with wins in the GII Remsen S. and GII Nashua S.

"We weren’t originally planning on selling her,” Frost said of Tapas. "But with Mohaymen coming up, and she is in foal to Medaglia d’Oro, so we decided we would see how she goes in the sale.”

The Fasig-Tipton November sale begins at 5 p.m. Nov. 7.

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