Storm Cat, for years the No. 1 stallion, has been experiencing difficulties impregnating his mares this breeding season at the Young family’s Overbrook Farm near Lexington. Fewer than half of the 31 mares that the 25-year-old stallion has covered are in foal.
“We’ve been dealing with his fertility, but as long as he’s comfortable covering mares and we think there’s a chance for pregnancy, then we’ll continue to breed him,” said farm advisor Ric Waldman, who added that Storm Cat’s overall health is good, especially for a stallion his age.
The decline in percentage is startling compared to 2007, when Storm Cat impregnated 70% of the 91 mares he covered. “This year the percentage is considerably less,” Waldman said.
“We have limited his covers, sometimes breeding him to one mare, other days to two,” Waldman added. “Right now, we have no plans to limit him as long as he’s comfortable covering them.”
Overbrook has taken steps to aid Storm Cat. The breeding shed staff has been collecting dismount samples after Storm Cat breeds, centrifuging the sample, and adding extenders before re-infusing it into the mare.
“But Storm Cat is such a good breeder that there is not much dismount with which to work,” Waldman said.
Storm Cat (Storm Bird--Terlingua, by Secretariat) has sired 160 stakes winners. He twice has been the leading sire by year-end progeny earnings and has ranked in the top 15 a total of 13 times. He has stood his entire career at Overbrook, which was founded by William T. Young. Racing as a homebred for Young, Storm Cat won the Young America Stakes (gr. I) and ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Overbrook dropped Storm Cat’s fee from $500,000 to $300,000 for 2008.