11/03/2014 8:28PM

Fasig-Tipton November: Princess of Sylmar to Japanese interests for $3.1 million


by Joe Nevills and Nicole Russo

Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar sold to Japan's Shadai Farm for $3.1 million to take over as the top price at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale Monday night in Lexington, Ky.

The 4-year-old Majestic Warrior filly, whose retirement was announced in September, was offered as a broodmare prospect. Taylor Made Sales Agency consigned the filly for owner-breeder Ed Stanco's King of Prussia Stables.

Princess of Sylmar was the first of two Kentucky Oaks winners slated to sell at Fasig-Tipton on Monday night, with 2012 heroine Believe You Can, in foal to Tapit, set to be offered later in the evening. The filly became the 10th horse to hammer at seven figures through the early going of the broodmare or racing/broodmare prospect section of the sale catalog. Shadai secured the mare by jumping in on the final bid.

"Of course, she's a very nice mare," farm representative and translator Patrick Barbe said. "We only made one bid. ... If it's only one bid, it has to be the expected price. We couldn't buy her for less."

Mark Taylor of Taylor Made Sales called the price "fair," although opining that the filly was worth more.

"I'm very happy the Yoshidas got her," Taylor said. "She's going to a great home. Actually, Mr. Stanco does a lot of business in Japan, so hopefully they'll let him have visiting rights. ...  [Stanco] said he couldn't bear to be here. I told him it's going to be fun and he said, 'No, I'm staying home.' He's a great guy and great for the sport. It was a great story all the way around."

Trained by Todd Pletcher – who was on hand to watch his former charge sell Monday - Princess of Sylmar won nine of 15 starts - with seven stakes wins and three additional stakes placings - for earnings of $2,017,220 over three seasons.

A multiple stakes winner early in her 3-year-old season, Princess of Sylmar forged her way to the head of her division with a half-length victory over champion Beholder in the Kentucky Oaks. She added the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 1 Alabama Stakes over the summer, then defeated champion Royal Delta in the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes. Princess of Sylmar finished sixth in the Breeders' Cup Distaff behind Beholder, and finished second to the latter in Eclipse Award balloting.

This season, Princess of Sylmar won just once from four starts, taking the listed Cat Cay Stakes before finishing a tight second to Close Hatches in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes and second to Belle Gallantey in the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap. She finished fifth in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes on Aug. 22 in what would prove her career finale. Following that outing, she was dignosed with a case of the "thumps," an electrolyte imbalance. After failing to train satisfactorily, Stanco and Pletcher made the decision to retire the filly rather than pressing onward to the Breeders' Cup.

Princess of Sylmar became the seventh winner of the Kentucky Oaks to fetch a multimillion dollar price tag in the last two decades. The most expensive of the group is Ashado, who sold for $9 million, then a record for a broodmare prospect, to John Ferguson at the 2005 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Taylor Made consigned Ashado and three of the other Oaks winners to sell in the last two decades. Still, Princess of Sylmar is special.

“She’s one of the top horses we’ve ever sold,” Taylor said. “She’s the whole package, a four-time Grade 1 winner, an Oaks winner, really stunning. For Taylor Made, it’s not once-in-a-lifetime, because we’ve been blessed with a few of them, but those types you don’t know when the next one’s coming, so you’d better be taking advantage of it.”

Taylor offered high compliments of the filly’s attitude and personality.

“She’s all class. That’s what I love,” Taylor said. “You go back there to the barn, and every night, the sun sets out the back of her stall, and she’s just standing there like a statue, ears pricked, just munching on hay and staring out the back at the sun going down. I don’t know what she’s thinking about, but it’s something way beyond anything that’s sitting right outside her window. She’s really an amazing horse.”

Princess of Sylmar, from the first crop of Majestic Warrior, is the first foal and only starter out of the stakes-placed winning Catienus mare Storm Dixie. She also became the first foal out of her dam to sell at public auction.

Out of the stakes winning Dixieland Band mare Golden Wave Band, Storm Dixie is a half sister to Group 3 winner Rhythm Band; to Grade 3 placed Musical, dam of stakes placed Orino; and to multiple stakes producers Poppy's Baby Girl and Golden Sliver.