Storm Cat: The Last Big Hurrah
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Storm Cat

All eyes figure to be on Storm Cat’s offspring starting Monday, Sept. 14, at the Keeneland September yearling sale. And for good reason. There are 32  yearlings consigned to the sale from Storm Cat’s last full crop, which numbers 56. Twenty-nine of the youngsters are consigned to Book 1.

Storm Cat’s place in the history of the Keeneland September yearling sale is well assured. The top commercial stallion of his era, the 26-year-old son of Storm Bird has topped the sale seven times by average. His 2005 average, $1,766,731, remains a sale mark with three or more yearlings sold. That figure eclipsed the former mark, $1,756,538, set by Storm Cat in 2001.

Storm Cat, who stood at the Young family’s Overbrook Farm near Lexington prior to being pensioned in May 2008, is going into the sale with a solid sire record for the year. All four of his 2009 stakes winners are graded winners, including grade I winners Life Is Sweet and Mr. Sidney.

Life Is Sweet, a filly, has won the Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (gr. I) and the La Canada (gr. II) and El Encino (gr. II) Stakes. Her stakes-placings include a third-place effort against males in the TVG/Betfair Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap (gr. I). Mr. Sidney has captured the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes (gr. IT) and the Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT).

As is the case with all other stallions, Storm Cat’s success in the sales ring has been predicated on his success as a stallion. He has sired 172 stakes winners, more than any other living North American stallion. Many of those stakes winners have gone on to become important stallions and broodmares. Which begs the questions: Why aren’t the owners of these Keeneland yearlings keeping them to race?

“It’s a case of the owners wanting to cash in,” said Overbrook advisor Ric Waldman about Storm Cat’s appeal. “With the way the economy is, they might need the money.”

Storm Cat is going into the Keeneland sale off a hot Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale. His Saratoga average, $1,037,500 from four yearlings sold, was well above the runner-up’s average of $635,000. Storm Cat’s also was represented by the sale-topper, a colt that fetched $2.8 million.

Storm Cat first led the Keeneland September sale by average in 1998, when his yearlings averaged $786,000, and six times after that.

Year—No. of Yearlings—Average
2008 –19--$584,737
2005—26--$1,766,731
2004—13--$1,615,384
2003—12--$956,667
2001—13--$1,756,538
2000—16--$1,401,750
1998—5--$786,000

Top averages often coincide with high-priced individuals, and Storm Cat had plenty of them at Keeneland September. He is represented by seven of the 10 highest-priced colts and three of the 10 top-priced fillies, including the $4.4 million world-record setter. His highest-priced colt, later named Jalil, sold for $9.7 million and developed into a group II winner in Dubai.

Prior to the advent of the Keeneland September sale as North America’s premier yearling auction, the Keeneland July sale was the leading venue for select yearlings. Storm Cat led the sale four times, including the last year it was held 2002.

Year—No. of Yearlings—Average
2002—3--$2,097,667
2001—5--$1,770,000
1999—7--$1,271,429
1997—11--$584,545

When Storm Cat led in 2002, it was first time since Nijinsky II in 1985 that a stallion topped the $2-million mark in average. Storm Cat’s $2,097,667 figure in 2002 is the fourth-highest in the history of the sale. Tops is Northern Dancer’s average of $3,446,666 in 1984.
 

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