Promising young sire Majestic Warrior passed a milestone in Kentucky on Friday when his three year-old daughter Princess of Sylmar (3f Majestic Warrior x Storm Dixie, by Catienus) won the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs to become his first Grade I winner.
Prepared by Todd Pletcher, Princess of Sylmar might not have been among the top fancies for the $1million contest, but she emerged the winner after producing a powerful finish for Mike Smith to overhaul multiple Grade I winner Beholder to win the 1 and 1/8th mile classic by half a length.
Princess of Sylmar nearly didn’t contest the race following a below par track gallop, but her final piece of work convinced connections to give her a shot at her first Grade I.
“We’re pleasantly surprised with her effort and her win. We didn’t much like her first breeze here [:48.60 Apr. 20], but her second one [:49.20 Apr. 29] was much better,” Pletcher commented.
“She’s a good filly; we knew that all along. And we took her out of her natural running style last time. This time she made that good run and got it done.”
Princess of Sylmar was the first stakes-winner for Majestic Warrior and is now his first Grade I winner, the talented chestnut boasting the overall record of five wins and a second from seven starts with prizemoney of $827,220.
A homebred for Ed Stanco, Princess of Sylmar is the first winner for stakes-placed Storm Dixie, a half-sister to Grade III winner Rhythm Band.
On Monday, Mr Stanco and his wife and Ina will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, their Oaks win an early present to mark the occasion.
“It’s a dream”, said Mr Stanco
“What we’ve done with our first homebred filly, to come this far, I don’t know how to describe that.”
With his oldest progeny just three year-olds, Majestic Warrior is the sire of no fewer than 46 winners including 13 stakes horses led by Princess of Sylmar and Grade III winner Declan’s Warrior.