Full Brothers, Right Down to the Bitter End

They're two of a kind, and on April 29, they came oh so close to being inseparable.

The finish of a $12,500 claiming race at River Downs in Ohio might have put breeder Ken Ayres in the record books--if such records are kept. He's the breeder of Storm Tale and Crown Myst, full brothers who finished first and second, respectively, with only a head between them at the wire.

Storm Tale (five) and Crown Myst (four) are Indiana-breds by Crown Ambassador out of the General Assembly mare Almost Mystical. Though Ayres no longer owns either racehorse--Calvin Ingram owns Storm Tale and Larry Waltz owns Crown Myst--he does own Almost Mystical. The mare has produced six foals, three of which have raced and won.

Ayres, who moved to Lexington from Indiana about five years ago, recalls when Almost Mystical, then four, won a maiden special weight event at Ellis Park right after he bought her. "In three days, I was out on her, but she never won another race," he said with a laugh.

Ayres bred the mare in Indiana because of a breed development program that can award almost 100% of the purse if a winning horse is owned and bred by the same person. Between them, Storm Tale--who won the 2003 Indiana Sires Derby--and Crown Myst have won 14 races and have earned more than $156,000.

"I've got breeding money that doesn't show (in the earnings)," Ayres said.

Pyramyst, a 3-year-old Pyramid Peak--Almost Mystical filly owned and bred by Ayres, has a maiden win to her credit. Almost Mystical subsequently was bred to Formal Gold, Announce, and this year to Van Nistelrooy.

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