Infamous producer of failed Del Mar horse show arrested on suspicion of murder-for-hire

A Valitar flyer features Tatyana Remley
Everything from the failed “Valitar” horse and human acrobatics show was auctioned off at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, including programs and other printed show material, on Jan. 29, 2013. This flyer features Tatyana Remley, who produced the show alongside her husband, Mark Remley.
(Howard Lipin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Tatyana Remley pleaded not guilty this month to the charges that she tried to pay someone to kill her husband and dispose of his body


For more than a decade, Tatyana and Mark Remley, a wealthy North County couple who previously made headlines as the producers of a failed, multi-million-dollar Del Mar horse show, have struggled to find marital bliss.

Court documents filed during one of several divorce attempts paint a turbulent, lavish lifestyle.

The couple would sometimes spend upwards of $50,000 a month, divorce filings claim. They had bodyguards and personal assistants and weekly drivers.

But Tatyana Remley repeatedly accused her husband of verbal abuse, acts of violence and intimidation. And she wanted him dead, prosecutors allege.

Last month, the 42-year-old woman was arrested after reportedly trying to pay an undercover detective to murder her spouse.

Sheriff’s officials said Remley’s plan was detailed. On Aug. 2, the detective met Remley during a sting operation. She explained how she wanted her husband killed and that his body should be disposed of, according to the department. She brought three weapons and a down payment in cash to the meeting, authorities said.

It was enough for an arrest, and she was behind bars later that day. At an arraignment in Vista Superior Court several days later, Remley pleaded not guilty to charges of solicitation of murder, concealing a weapon in a vehicle, and carrying a loaded gun in a public place. Her preliminary hearing, when a judge decides whether there’s enough evidence for a trial, is set for Nov. 16. She remains jailed without bail.

Neither Tatyana nor Mark Remley could be reached for comment. The District Attorney’s office said the woman was being represented by a public defender, but the attorney’s name wasn’t immediately available.

It’s the second time she has been arrested in recent months. On July 2 around 7:30 p.m., the Sheriff’s Department got a call about a fire in the couple’s home on Rancho Reposa, not far from the Del Mar Polo Fields.

Deputies got to the property and found Remley, who was allegedly in possession of three guns and ammunition, according to the Sheriff’s Department. They arrested her, and she was booked into jail on suspicion of firearm-related charges. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

Detectives learned of the alleged murder-for-hire plot the following day.

The criminal case is only the most recent of the couple’s woes. In 2012, the pair is thought to have spent millions bringing to life “Valitar,” an ambitious show featuring acrobats and horses. But after four performances, the couple abandoned the project, leaving vendors and performers in the lurch.

Behind closed doors, the pair was also struggling.

Unhappily ever after

The couple married in 2011. Less than a year later, Mark Remley filed for a divorce.

It was the first of several divorce petitions during their 12-year union, and the documents filed in those cases depict an upscale life tainted with allegations of violence and intimidation.

The pair most recently split in May, and Tatyana filed divorce documents a month later. She said in the filings that their marriage was “great” for the first year, but things soon became volatile.

In one instance, Tatyana said her husband put a gun to her head in front of an employee. In another, she claimed he chased after her with a knife, prompting neighbors to call 911.

Days before the couple’s most recent separation, Tatyana said she was locked in her bedroom when several of her husband’s friends broke in and held her at gunpoint, the documents read. She said she was assaulted while other people trashed their home.

“They went on to break my expensive horse (statue) in the yard and put the head of the horse in my bed, Godfather style,” the court filings read.

She said she fled the house and reported the incident to the police, who escorted her back to the property the next day. The Sheriff’s Department declined to answer further questions about the case now that it’s being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office.

Her filings went on to state she went into hiding soon after that night and didn’t return to the home until the night of the fire. The documents don’t delve into what may have led to the blaze.

She said in court documents that the home burned down “upon my arrival.”

Although the fire left the home unlivable, she requested sole access to the Rancho Reposa location and planned to live in a trailer on the property, the court documents said. She also requested possession of several vehicles and pets, including three fainting goats and three parrots.

Tatyana asked for $15,000 a month in spousal support, according to the filings, a far cry from the $50,000 a month she said the couple spent together before their split.

“Some nights, the parties would spent $30,000 in just one night,” the documents read. Adding later, “The parties frequently engaged in high end shopping and dining and went on luxury cruises.”

The petition claims her husband owned several luxury properties and more than $1 million in cars — including two Rolls-Royces.

In an interview with The Coast News, Mark Remley said the allegations in his wife’s filings were fabricated.

Collapse of ‘Valitar’

Horses wander in a pen next to the large red tent for "Valitar."
(Hayne Palmour IV/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

In January 2012 — a few months before that first divorce filing — Erik Martonovich, a competitive rider and founder of Las Vegas’ Big Horse Productions, said the couple got in touch with him. The pair had an idea for an equestrian show, and they were willing to spend big bucks — at least $10 million dollars — to fund it.

Martonovich became the show’s first director, and it soon became clear the couple was in over their heads, he told the Union-Tribune in 2013.

“They had no clue what they were doing — about anything,” Martonovich said then. “They weren’t horse people, and they weren’t show people.”

Over the course of 10 months, the Remleys threw money at the project. They spent $3 million on a towering red 45-000-square-foot tent. They budgeted $250,000 for horses and more for a VIP lounge.

Amid their planning, the couple separated and reconciled. It was around that time that Tatyana began pushing for a larger role in the production, a move Martonovich objected to, he said. Many of the show’s ads featured the tall blonde, even though, unlike the other performers, she wasn’t a professional rider.

After a horse was injured during training and put down, Martonovich was fired — and 18 of the 25 performers left with him. A new director was brought on, but the writing was on the wall.

“Valitar” opened in November 2012, and after four performances, the couple pulled the plug. The production crews stopped getting paid, and the Remleys canceled contracts with landlords where some employees were being housed. The couple even cut the utilities, forcing crews to tear down what they could — at times in the dark.

A sign at the entrance to the Del Mar Fairgrounds lets everyone know the "Valitar" shows are canceled.
(Howard Lipin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

After the show’s collapse, the corporation Mark Remley created to oversee the production, Equustria Development, filed for bankruptcy. Everything but the horses — tents, portable stables, feed buckets and chariots — was sold off at auction to pay back creditors.

Several years later, in 2015, the couple opened Rhythm and Power, a cycling studio in Solana Beach. It closed the following year.