Published in the Feb. 18, 2006, issue of The Blood-Horse magazine
It wasn't long after Sheikh Mohammed paid a record $9 million for champion Ashado at the 2005 Keeneland November breeding stock sale that fans and experts alike began thinking about the perfect stallion for the daughter of Saint Ballado. To the surprise of no one, or maybe a few, Sheikh Mohammed selected the world's No. 1 sire, Storm Cat, who stands for $500,000 at the Young family's Overbrook Farm near Lexington.Ashado, a seven-time grade I winner who was champion 3-year-old filly of 2004 and champion older female of 2005, is just one of many grade I winners that will be bred this year for the first time. Here are some others, in alphabetical order:Friendly Michelle, who won the 2004 Prioress Stakes (gr. I), will be bred to A.P. Indy. The stallion stands at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky.Intercontinental, the second champion grass female this decade for breeder/owner Juddmonte Farms, was a runaway winner in Eclipse Award balloting after winning the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT). A full sister to 2001 turf champion female Banks Hill, Intercontinental is booked to Empire Maker , who stands at Juddmonte near Lexington.Island Sand, the 2004 Acorn Stakes (gr. I) winner, will be bred to A.P. Indy.Millionaire Lady Tak, who won both of Saratoga's grade I sprints for distaffers, the Test Stakes (in 2003) and Ballerina Handicap (in 2004), will be bred to Distorted Humor . The stallion stands at Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky.Madcap Escapade, who beat Ashado in winning the 2004 Ashland Stakes (gr. I), captured seven of nine races and earned $1,052,852. She is booked to A.P. Indy.Megahertz, a grade I winner who won 13 stakes, will visit the court of Giant's Causeway at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky.My Trusty Cat, who won the Humana Distaff Handicap (gr. I) on the 2005 Kentucky Derby undercard, is booked to A.P. Indy.Grade I winner Pampered Princess will be bred to Unbridled's Song, who stands at the Taylor family's Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Ky. Pampered Princess scored her big win in the 2005 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps' homebred Pleasant Home, who captured the 2005 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), is booked to Awesome Again . The stallion stands at Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Kentucky near Midway.Shadow Cast scored her big win in the 2005 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga for breeder Bill Farish, who now owns the mare with his father, William S. Farish. She is booked to A.P. Indy.Society Selection, second in the 2005 Breeders' Cup Distaff, not only won the Test, but also the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. Her other grade I win came in the Frizette Stakes. Society Selection will be bred to Giant's Causeway .Millionaire Stellar Jayne, a three-time grade I winner who was bought by Sheikh Mohammed for $3.6 million at the 2004 Keeneland November sale, is booked to Storm Cat.Tarlow, the 2005 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (gr. I) winner, will be bred to Empire Maker.Plenty of attention also figures to be directed to the dams of the 2005 champions and their upcoming matings. Ashado's dam, Goulash, who is owned by Aaron and Marie Jones, will be bred to Storm Cat.Intercontinental's dam, Hasili, who is owned by Juddmonte, is booked to Empire Maker . Quiet Dance, owned by Edward P. Evans, is the dam of Horse of the Year and champion older male Saint Liam. She is booked to a previous Horse of the Year, Mineshaft , who stands at Lane's End.Jess Jackson's Maggy Hawk, dam of 3-year-old champion male and Horse of the Year runner-up Afleet Alex, is booked to Storm Cat.Heat Lightning, dam of champion 2-year-old male Stevie Wonderboy, is booked to Unbridled's Song. Andrew Rosen bought Heat Lightning for $1.1 million at the 2005 Keeneland November sale.Contrive, dam of 2-year-old filly champion Folklore, is booked to Elusive Quality, who stands at Gainsborough Farm near Versailles, Ky. Contrive was bought by Sheikh Mohammed for $3 million at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale.No decision has been reached for the following: Dinny Phipps'Inside Information, dam of 3-year-old champion filly Smuggler; Dissemble, owned in partnership by Indian Creek and dam of champion turf male Leroidesanimaux; and Cloud Break, dam of champion sprinter Lost in the Fog. Cloud Break, who was bought for $600,000 at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale by WinStar Farm, has had her prospective mates narrowed down to Speightstown andSongandaprayer.Amanda Duckworth contributed to this story.