It's no secret that breeders will be paying higher stud fees in 2001, and one stallion whose fee is expected to rise into the stratosphere is William T. Young's Storm Cat, who stood the 2000 season for $300,000 at his owner's Overbrook Farm near Lexington, Ky. A figure of $400,000 was circulated by Bill Oppenheim in Thoroughbred Daily News, and one as high as $450,000 has been discussed in some Central Kentucky circles. According to Overbrook official Ric Waldman there is some truth to the amounts, but nothing has been set in stone."We might go that high, but we haven't quoted anyone. It's all conjecture so far," Waldman said about the higher figure. "No one has gotten a contract for that amount, but I have given indications to breeders of where (the fee) might go."Storm Cat topped both the general and sires of 2-year-olds lists in 1999, and this year ranks second on the general and eighth on the 2-year-olds lists. His stakes winners in 2000 include four-time European group I winner Giant's Causeway and additional group I winner Aljabr, plus U.S. grade I winners High Yield and Finder's Fee.