03/24/2006 1:00AM

A. P. Warrior may live up to seven-figure billing


LEXINGTON, Ky. - With his victory in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, A. P. Warrior took a significant step in justifying his seven-figure auction price and the great expectations associated with his past performances, which included a second to Brother Derek in the Norfolk Stakes last fall.

By A.P. Indy, one of the world's best living sires, and out of a high-performing racemare in Warrior Queen, A. P. Warrior came to the yearling sales showing the scope and quality of an outstanding prospect. He was sold to Stan Fulton for $1.3 million at the Keeneland September yearling sale, the third-highest sum for a yearling by A.P. Indy in 2004 and $1 million more than A.P. Indy's stud fee.

The cost for A.P. Indy's services as a stallion has increased steadily since his first sons and daughters came to the races. A son of Seattle Slew, he has established himself as one of the most reliable sources of classic-quality racers.

With his continual elevation as a sire, A.P. Indy's mates have consistently become the elite broodmares of the breed, and his offspring have risen ever higher in commercial estimation.

The dam of A. P. Warrior is the Quiet American mare Warrior Queen, who was a successful racer in England and Ireland in 1999 and 2000, when she was ranked as the highweight 3-year-old filly from five to seven furlongs.

After racing overseas for Mrs. Tim Hyde, Warrior Queen went through the 2002 Keeneland November sale. Eaton Sales consigned Warrior Queen, who sold for $2 million, with Adrian Nichol of the BBA Ireland signing the ticket for Jim Fleming.

Nichol said that the purchase of Warrior Queen was Fleming's first major venture in America. Fleming, an Australian, has a boutique stud in Sydney with 25 to 30 mares, Nichol said.

"He has invested in Europe before, where I bought him a filly named Hula Angel, who won the Irish 1000 Guineas," Nichol said.

Fleming's decision to purchase Warrior Queen was based in part on her pedigree and race record, but the deciding factor was her outstanding appearance.

"Warrior Queen was as beautiful a mare as we've ever sold," Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales said, "and the foal she was carrying developed into a grand-looking colt that we subsequently sold to Mr. Fulton for $1.3 million at Keeneland September in 2004."

Nichol echoed the consignor's conclusion, saying that Warrior Queen "was an absolute queen of a mare with marvelous conformation. In addition to being an extremely good-looking model, I knew her from racing over here, and I thought she was a little unlucky not to win a better race here."

As it turns out, she was the perfect opportunity for Fleming to invest in American bloodstock, with a European flair. A retired businessman who lives in Sydney, Fleming was once head of the Sydney Turf Club and has been in racing a long time, Nichol said.

With Fleming's purchase of Warrior Queen and subsequent sale of her foals, the breeder has made a serious splash in the American market and has got his investment back with dividends. After purchasing Warrior Queen for $2 million, he has grossed $5.1 million from the sale of her first two foals.

Nothing sells like quality, unless it is a horse with current form and quality. As a young mare with the good looks, appealing pedigree, and race record to attract high-end buyers, Warrior Queen has proven a jackpot.

Her first foal was A. P. Warrior, and her second was a filly by Storm Cat. Now a 2-year-old, the Storm Cat filly was the high-priced yearling filly of last year, at $3.8 million, selling out of the Eaton consignment to Demi O'Byrne for Coolmore.

Warrior Queen has a Storm Cat yearling filly, and she was barren for 2006. Nichol said Warrior Queen has been covered again by Storm Cat this year and is boarded at Ashford.

As a commercial breeder, Fleming said he is hoping to get a colt with the looks and elan to light up the premium yearling market.

The Storm Cat yearling filly out of Warrior Queen will go to the Keeneland September sale, unless Fleming decides to keep her later in the year, Nichol said. Either way, Fleming can hardly lose.

McDonald said that as a sales yearling, "A. P. Warrior looked a lot like his dam. He had this smooth, quality appearance with scope, and he looked like he could go two turns."

Still, there was a moment when A. P. Warrior might have been overlooked at the sales.

"As we went through our morning meeting on the day we were to sell A. P. Warrior, we realized we didn't have as many people on him as we had thought," McDonald said. "We knew he was a good horse, and we called up Mr. [B. Wayne] Hughes and said, 'We saw you were underbidder on a couple of nice A.P. Indy colts yesterday, and since we have a colt we like a lot, we wondered if you would you come back and take a look at him.' "

Hughes and his advisers went to the Eaton consignment, liked the colt, and proved the underbidder for A. P. Warrior.