Majestic Warrior, whose first crop of offspring will race this year, was the leading sire at the Keeneland sale of 2-year-olds in training April 9 in Lexington. His three offspring that sold averaged $385,667.
The trio included the $700,000 sale-topper, a colt produced from the unraced Hennessy mare Counter Cat, and the auction's co-second-highest-priced filly, Black Witch, who brought $400,000 and is out of the Johannesburg mare South African Baby.
Majestic Warrior, a 7-year-old son of 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, won the 2007 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) while racing for his breeder, the late George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Farm and later was owned in partnership by that operation with Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor. He stands at Ireland-based Coolmore Stud's Kentucky division, Ashford Stud. Magnier's husband, John, is Coolmore's managing partner.
Kentucky-bred Majestic Warrior captured two of his seven career races and earned $239,229.
Produced from the grade I winner Dream Supreme (by Seeking the Gold), Majestic Warrior is a full brother to added-money winner Crystal Current and a half brother to stakes winner Evolutionist (by El Prado). When he entered stud in 2009, Majestic Warrior's stud fee was $20,000. This year, he is standing for $12,000.
Even though Majestic Warrior is unproven as a sire, his progeny are appealing to buyers, even when they have to pay hefty prices to acquire them.
Kentucky bloodstock John Moynihan is one of the young stallion's fans. He purchased Majestic Warrior's Keeneland sale-topper for Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton. Moynihan also was the immediate underbidder on Black Witch.
"It looks like this horse (Majestic Warrior) is off to a good start," he said. "I've seen some really good ones and the good ones that I've seen have a tremendous amount of A.P. Indy in them. He (Majestic Warrior) is an extremely well-bred horse and sons of A.P. Indy have done well (as sires)."
Moynihan said he was excited about the $700,000 Majestic Warrior colt because "it's rare that you see an A.P. Indy-line horse go that fast like he did." The chestnut juvenile worked an eighth of a mile in :10 in during the Keeneland sale's under tack show.
John Greathouse Jr. of Glencrest Farm owned the auction-topping colt in partnership with Dan Tayloe and Ciaran Dunne. Dunne and his wife, Amy, operate Florida-based Wavertree Stables, which consigned the colt as agent to the Keeeneland sale. Ciaran Dunne bought him in the name of Reunion Bloodstock for $137,000 from Elm Tree Farm, agent, at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton July select yearling auction.
"He (Majestic Warrior) was a horse that I've kind of followed with some mixed feelings," Greathouse said. "You see a horse run well and then you don't know why he didn't run well. Obviously, they expected a lot more out of him after the Hopeful than they got. I don't know why he didn't go forward and do what they wanted him to do.
"But he showed enough early on," Greathouse continued, "to say that he could have a future as a stallion. He is certainly by the right horse and he's got a great female family. There is absolutely no reason not to think this horse really won't be a top stallion (based on his breeding)."
Greathouse said he likes the Majestic Warrior offspring that he's seen so far because "they maybe have a little more leg under him than some of the A.P. Indys want to have, which to me is good. But I really can't call the A.P. Indys short-legged. He gets such big-barreled horses that sometimes they appear to be shorter-legged than they are. Most of his horses are pretty massive in their girth; he passed that along to a lot of them. Malibu Moon is one of them."
Majestic Warrior's progeny, Greathouse added, "are really striking horses in a lot of cases."
Another plus for Majestic Warrior's future as a stallion is the Thoroughbred operation managing his stud career, according to Greathouse.
"The guys at Coolmore are pretty good at marketing what they market," he said. "I'm going to guess that he (Majestic Warrior) has got plenty of young horses coming. He's a horse with a future, that's for certain."