Not so many years ago, the hottest stallion prospects in the world were the sons of leading sire Storm Cat, the blocky dark bay son of Storm Bird (by Northern Dancer) out of Terlingua (Secretariat). Beaten for the 1985 Breeders' Cup Juvenile in the last jump by Tasso, Storm Cat nonetheless became the dominant sire of his generation, and after sons such as Harlan sired major competitors like Menifee and Harlan's Holiday, the demand for sons of Storm Cat went into the stratosphere.
Today, there are still more than two dozen sons of Storm Cat at stud, and of those, at least six have sired Grade 1 or Group 1 winners this year. Of course, Giant's Causeway was “the” son of Storm Cat after a terrific racing career, and he has proven the most successful stallion son of his fabled sire.
This year, Giant's Causeway has G1 winners Brody's Cause (Breeders' Futurity) and Carpe Diem (Blue Grass Stakes). The other sons of Storm Cat with 2015 G1 winners are Bluegrass Cat, with Chilean-raced Linda Linda (Alberto Solari Magnasco); the deceased Bernstein, with Tepin (Breeders' Cup Mile, First Lady Stakes, Just a Game Stakes), certain finalist for the Eclipse as top turf filly; Tale of the Cat, with Stopchargingmaria (Breeders' Cup Distaff), one of the likely finalists for the Eclipse Award as Older Female; Stormy Atlantic, with the evergreen Stormy Lucy (Matriarch Stakes); and Pure Prize, with unbeaten Hi Happy in Argentina.
Of those, Tale of the Cat and Stormy Atlantic come from the same crop, foaled in 1994, and they are two of the most reliable representatives of Storm Cat for their own individual types. Tale of the Cat was arguably the fastest son of his sire, and Tale of the Cat has sired a high percentage of quick and frequently precocious performers. They tend to be medium-sized and strongly made. Few want to race much farther than a mile, but the stallion's most famous performer is champion turf horse Gio Ponti, who was best at 10 to 12 furlongs.
Stormy Atlantic, however, is a taller version of the Storm Cat model, significantly influenced by broodmare sire Seattle Slew, and the stallion has found particular success with turf performers, many of whom show great longevity. His best racers include Canadian champion Up With the Birds (G1 Jamaica Handicap) and multiple G1 winner Get Stormy (Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, Maker's Mark Mile).
But one interesting facet of Stormy Atlantic's record as a sire is his versatility. In addition to those top performers able to succeed going two turns, the stallion sires others who have high speed and precocity and who show top-level form on dirt. Among these, the best was surely Stormello, winner of the Hollywood Futurity and the Norfolk Stakes. Other good juveniles include She Says It Best (Alcibiades Stakes) and Wired Bryan (Sanford Stakes).
The sire of 97 stakes winners, Stormy Atlantic comes from one of the most distinguished American female families, that of Rough Shod (Gold Bridge). The distinguished producer is the fourth dam of Stormy Atlantic, coming through the mare's champion daughter Moccasin (Nantallah). Moccasin produced seven stakes winners from nine foals in her time at stud, and one of those was Flippers, who is the second dam of Stormy Atlantic.
A daughter of Belmont Stakes winner Coastal (Majestic Prince), Flippers was a good racer but lankier than her dam. Possessing less speed than champion juvenile Moccasin, Flippers was bred to champion juvenile (and Triple Crown winner) Seattle Slew. That mating produced the mare's best performer, stakes winner Hail Atlantis, who is the dam of Stormy Atlantic.
The stallion has certainly held up the best traditions of his heritage, and he will cross the threshold of 100 stakes winners in the near future.
Another son of Storm Cat from an exceptional female family, Pure Prize is out of champion Heavenly Prize (Seeking the Gold) and won the G2 Kentucky Cup Classic. Sent to stud, the big chestnut became a racing man's star stallion, getting solid performers at a variety of distances and surfaces. G1 winner Pure Clan was probably the stallion's best-known performer in the States.
In South America, Pure Prize has found even greater acceptance and success. This year, he has the unbeaten Hi Happy, top 3-year-old colt in Argentina and pro-tem Horse of the Year after a powerful victory in the G1 Carlos Pellegini at San Isidro on Dec. 12.
The winner of four G1 races from six starts to date, Hi Happy won the Pellegrini by a length and a half from the 3-year-old Include colt Don Inc, with the nearest of their older competition six lengths farther back.
Bred and raced by Haras La Providencia, Hi Happy is a full brother to Hinz, a G1 winner in Chile. They are out of the French Deputy mare Historia, and their third dam is the Forli mare Islands, who is out of stakes winner Grand Luxe, by Sir Ivor out of Alabama Stakes winner Fanfreluche (Northern Dancer).
Pure Prize stands solely in Argentina, where he is based at Haras Carampangue, near San Antonio de Areco.
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.
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