Magic of Life

Magic of Life (1985-2009) was a Virginia-bred Thoroughbred racehorse trained in Great Britain. Foaled at Newstead Farm in January 1985, she was auctioned off for a record-breaking 2.5 million USD before the year was over, and shipped to Europe to train and race there. In most of her races, she was ridden by Irish jockey Pat Eddery.

As a juvenile, she won three of her five races – including a win over male horses in the Mill Reef Stakes.

The high point of her racing career was the Coronation Stakes victory at Royal Ascot that she accomplished as a three-year-old.

After retiring from the track, Magic of Life became a notable broodmare.

Short facts about Magic of Life


27 January 1985




United States




Seattle Slew


Bold Reasoning




Northern Dancer


Newstead Farm


Stavros Niarchos


Jeremy Tree




9: 4-1-1


Major wins

Mill Reef Stakes (1987)
Coronation Stakes (1988)


Magic of Life was foaled at Newstead Farm on January 27, 1985. She was a bay mare with white socks on her hind legs, and her head was adorned with a blaze.

Newstead Farm is a Thoroughbred horse breeding farm located near Upperville in Virginia. When Magic of Life was foaled, the farm had already been up and running for nearly half a century. It was founded back in 1936 by Taylor Hardin, and after his death in 1976 the farm was operated by a trust that included Taylor’s son Mark. Eventually, Newstead Farm was sold to Bertram and Diana Firestone.

Magic of Life was sired by Seattle Slew, chiefly famous for winning the American Triple Crown in 1977. Examples of well-known racehorses sired by him are Slew o’ Gold, Landaluce, Swale and A.P. Indy.

Magic of Life’s dam was an accomplished racehorse named Larida. Her resume included ten race victories and one of them was the Orchid Handicap.


Seattle Slew


Bold Reasoning


Boldnesian Bold Ruler
Reason to Earn Hail To Reason
Sailing Home
My Charmer


Poker Round Table
Fair Charmer Jet Action
Myrtle Charm



Northern Dancer


Nearctic Nearco
Lady Angela
Natalma Native Dancer


Sea-Bird Dan Cupid
Ole Liz Double Jay
Islay Mist

Magic of Life is sold for a record-breaking sum

In November 1985, Newstead Farm sold their foals and Magic of Life was auctioned off for a record-breaking 2.5 million USD. (This world record price for a foal wasn’t broken until 12 years later.)

Magic of Life became the property of Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos and moved to England to be trained by Jeremy Tree at Beckhampton in Wiltshire.

1987: Magic of Life’s two-year-old season

Magic of Life’s racing premier was the West Ilsley Maiden Stakes over five furlongs at Newbury Racecourse. She won this race with a margin of one and a half length to runner-up Jodoka. After this victory, Magic of Life was moved up in class and distance and entered into the Group Three Cherry Hinton Stakes over six furlongs at Newmarket Racecourse. She finished second, after Diminuendo.

Other races in 1987

Race Info
Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot Finished 3rd out of five runners
A minor race over six furlongs at Windsor Racecourse. Magic of Life was dropped in class for this race, which she won.
Group Two Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury For the first time ever, Magic of Life was matched against colts, and she won by three quarters of a length.

1988: Magic of Life’s three-year-old season

The 175th running of the 1000 Guineas over the Rowley Mile course at Newmarket

This race, which took place in late April, was Magic of Life’s first race as a three-year-old. She finished 7th of the twelve runners. After the race, she was diagnosed with a respiratory infection.

The Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot

This race took place on 15 June. Magic of Life won by two lengths. Runner-up was the 33/1 outsider Inchmurrin.

After her Royal Ascot victory, Magic of Life was given more than two months of rest before the next race.

Waterford Crystal Mile

In this race, Magic of Life was matched against colts and older horses. She finished 4th of the six runners.

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot

Magic of Life finished second-last in this race, which took place in September and became her last race ever.


1987: Timeform rated Magic of Life at 113 (eight pounds below the highest-rated two-year-old filly).

1987: In the International Classification, Magic of Life was rated ten pounds below the highest rated filly.

Magic of Life becomes a brood mare

After retiering from racing, Magic of Life became a broodmare for Stavros Niarchos. When he died in 1996, she was kept by the family (ownership was transferred to their company Flaxman Holdings).

In November 1998, Magic of Life was offered for sale at the Keeneland Sales and purchased by David Nagle’s Barronstown Stud for 610,000 USD. Her later foals were officially bred by a company associated with the Coolmore Stud.

Notable offspring

Between 1990 and 2009, Magic of Life produced over a dozen foals, including seven winners.

Name Foaled Info
From Beyond 1991 A filly that won the Listed Prix Vulcain at Èvry
Mountains of Mist 1992 A filly that won one race
Water Echo 1997 A filly that won one race
Enthused 1998 A filly that won three races, including the Princess Margaret Stakes and the Lowther Stakes
Lucius Verrus 2000 A colt (later gelded) that won six races
Skagway 2002 A colt that won three races
Orchestra Leader 2009 A colt (later gelded) that won one race.