Grade 1 Winner Majestic Harbor Dies Suddenly at Age 14
Press Release Coalinga, CA (April 6, 2022) – Majestic Harbor, who won nearly $1.3 million in a brilliant race career that included 10 wins and a memorable and stirring victory in the 2014 version of the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, has died at Harris Farm in Coalinga, Calif.
The stallion – who was California’s leading freshman sire in 2020 and was the #1 stallion among all California sires in 2021 in both average earnings per runner and median earnings per runner – would have turned a full 14 years old on Wednesday, April 6.
According to Jonny Hilvers, Harris Farms’ general manager, Majestic Harbor collapsed and died suddenly in the breeding shed due to a suspected heart attack. Majestic Harbor will be buried at Harris Farms.
“As you can imagine, we are all in shock and completely devastated,” said Lori Hebel-Osborne, who owned Majestic Harbor along with her husband, David, and her mother and father, Carol and the late Charles W. Hebel, Ron Beegle and Ray Beegle. The owners raced the colt under the partnership name of Gallant Stables. “Rocky was just a huge part of our life, and he gave us so much of his life to make ours bigger and brighter. He had so much personality. He had so much talent. He had it all. We all loved him so much. Hard to believe that he is gone so soon.”
Majestic Harbor – who was affectionately nicknamed “Rocky” as a nod to his sire Rockport Harbor and for all his comeback fights throughout his racing years – was a true warrior on the racetrack. He started 42 times and he compiled an impressive record of 10 wins, eight seconds, and seven thirds at 10 different racetracks that spanned from Kentucky to California.
The colt was trained by Paul McGee in Kentucky and Sean McCarthy in California. Majestic Harbor won graded stakes for both McGee and McCarthy. Both trainers credited the horse’s success to a combination of class, intelligence, tactical speed, and soundness.
Majestic Harbor, who raced until he was an 8-year-old, won four graded stakes: the 2014 G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita; the 2014 G3 Tokyo City Cup Stakes; the 2016 G3 Mineshaft Stakes at the Fair Grounds; and the 2016 G2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day.
In addition, he placed in the G1 Stephen Foster Handicap; the G2 Marathon Stakes; the G3 Greenwood Cup Stakes; the G2 Hawthorne Gold Cup, the G2 Californian Stakes and the G2 San Pasqual Stakes.
All told, Majestic Harbor hit the board in 31 of 42 lifetime starts including 14 times in graded stakes. In 2014, he competed in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic. His best speed figure came in the Mineshaft, where he was credited with a 116 rating by Equibase.
Majestic Harbor, a son of Rockport Harbor and the French Deputy mare Champagne Royale, began his stallion career at Swifty Farms in Indiana in 2017.
From his first crop, he produced stakes-winning filly Pearl Tiara, who won an Indiana-bred stakes event in 2021 and stakes-placed winner Diamond Solitaire, who is also an Indiana-bred success story.
After his first two years in Indiana, he was transferred to California and Harris Farm. Majestic Harbor’s third full crop and first from California has already produced an open maiden special weight winner in Oneparticularharbor, who broke his maiden at Santa Anita earlier this year.