Storm Bird, a European champion who sired the great Storm Cat
, was euthanized the night of Dec. 3 following a bout with colic at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky.
"He was treated at the farm," said general manager Dermot Ryan about the 26-year-old son of Northern Dancer. He was always a healthy stallion, but considering his age, it was decided to put him down."
Storm Bird, who was pensioned following the 1999 breeding season, sired 63 stakes winners. His greatest achievement came in siring Storm Cat for the late breeder/owner William T. Young of Overbrook Farm.
A grade I winner, Storm Cat became the nation's leading sire and the world's most valuable stallion, standing for $500,000 a season, at Overbrook near Lexington. Storm Cat, now 21, has sired 129 stakes winners, including such valuable Ashford stallions as Giant's Causeway.
Two of Storm Bird's other sons, Summer Squall and Bluebird, also achieved fame in a big way, first as major winners, then as stallions. Summer Squall, the 1990 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), sired 35 stakes winners. Bluebird, an Irish sprint champion, is represented by 74 stakes winners. Both are now pensioned.
Perhaps the greatest advertisement as Storm Bird as a sires of sires came in the 1999 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The first three finishers--Charismatic, Menifee
, and Cat Thief
--traced to him in male line. Charismatic, by Summer Squall, went on to win the Preakness and run third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). He was voted Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male.
Storm Bird also can lay claim to this year's Belmont winner. Birdstone
, who upset Smarty Jones
in America's longest classic, was produced from a Storm Bird mare. Storm Bird is the broodmare sire of 100-plus stakes winners.
Bred in Canada by E.P. Taylor, Storm Bird commanded $1 million at the 1979 Keeneland July yearling sale as part of Taylor's Windfields Farm consignment. Robert Sangster bought him through the Irish branch of the British Bloodstock Agency.
Trained in Ireland by Vincent O'Brien, Storm Bird was England and Ireland's champion 2-year-old of 1980 after winning all five starts. The following summer, Sangster and his group sold a 75% interest in Storm Bird to Dr. William Lockridge and Robert Hefner for a reported $21 million.
Storm Bird finished unplaced in his only start at three that fall and was retired to stud with a record of five wins from six starts. He entered stud in 1982 at Ashford (then owned by Lockridge and Hefner). In 1984, Magnier and partners acquired Ashford and took over the management of Storm Bird.
Storm Bird, who was produced from the New Providence mare South Ocean, is represented by the earners of $30 million, including such other European champions as the fillies Balanchine and Indian Skimmer.