by Alan Porter
The first horse to really demonstrate Storm Cat'spotential as a sire of sires was Storm Boot. Along with multiple group/graded stakes winners Mountain Cat and Future Storm, Storm Boot was one of three sons of Storm Cat who commenced their stud careers in 1994, and who went on to sire stakes winners. Of the trio, Storm Boot would have initially looked the least likely to succeed. Winning only four times in 14 starts, he was diminutive in stature (he stood just 15.2-1/2 hands) and he commenced his stud career at Crestwood Farm in Lexington, Ky., with a fee of just $1,000. He would stand at Crestwood until his death in 2007.
Despite his bargain-basement starting price, Storm Boot did have some points in his favor. He’d shown plenty of speed, leading throughout for each of his wins. On his final outing, he was beaten just a head by multiple graded stakes winner Blushing Julian in the six-furlong Broad Street Stakes after setting all the early fractions. Storm Boot also owned an excellent pedigree. His dam, Aliata, was a Mr. Prospector half-sister to the good sire Topsider (by Storm Boot’s great-grandsire, Northern Dancer), and was out of Canadian champion grass horse Drumtop. Storm Boot’s third dam, Zonah, was a daughter of the My Babu mare Gambetta and was similarly bred to her dam’s half-siblings, the champion 2-year-olds Ridan and Moccasin, and Thong, the ancestress of numerous important horses, including outstanding stallions Sadler’s Wells, Fairy King, and Nureyev. A subsequent mating of Storm Cat with a granddaughter of Moccasin would produce another good stallion, Stormy Atlantic .
As things turned out, it was Storm Boot who delivered, becoming the first son of Storm Cat to be represented by a stakes winner, when his first-crop daughter Bourbon Belle captured the Hoosier Debutante Stakes on November 22, 1997. Bourbon Belle went on to earn over $1.1 million and take three graded stakes. As for Storm Boot, to date he has been represented by 45 stakes winners, including the other graded scorers Hurricane Bertie, Night Patrol, Smooth Jazz, American Spirit, Tiger, Primal Storm, Icanseetherain, and Mani Bhavan.
The most recent of these is the 2-year-old filly Mani Bhavan – named after the Mumbai residence of Mahatma Ghandi – who captured the Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga on August 13. In only her second start, following a debut win at Delaware Park, she set the pace and scored by seven lengths to account for a field that included graded winner Garden District and Astoria Stakes winner Bold Union.
Mani Bhavan was purchased for $30,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September Yearling Sale by Mike Ryan, who remains a part owner. The filly was intended as a pinhooking prospect for the 2008 Ocala Breeders’ Sales February auction. A setback prior to the sale resulted in a disappointing breeze, however, and she was bought back for $95,000. Ryan was very familiar with Mani Bhavan’s family, as he purchased her dam, Rehear, on behalf of Carl Pollard’s Hermitage Farm – the breeder of Mani Bhavan – for $200,000 at the 2001 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The daughter of Coronado’s Quest scored once from six starts, taking a maiden special weight at Turfway Park as a juvenile.
If not a star at the track, Rehear certainly had enough pedigree credentials to qualify her as an appealing broodmare prospect. To start with, she was half-sister to Turkappeal, a Turkoman mare who was a three-time stakes winner and also took runner-up spot in the Reeve Schley, Jr. Stakes (gr. II) and The Very One Handicap (gr. III). Bred to Awesome Again, Turkappeal preceded her half-sister as the dam of a juvenile graded winner by producing Pink Champagne, winner of the 2003 renewal of the Natalma Stakes (gr. III).
Rehear’s dam, the Valid Appeal mare Chief Appeal, won three races at 3. Chief Appeal is a half-sister of Silken Cat, champion 2-year-old filly in Canada, and subsequently became the dam of champion sprinter Speightstown . It’s worth noting that Silken Cat was a daughter of Storm Boot’s sire, Storm Cat, and her son Speightstown was by Gone West, a son of Mr. Prospector, who is both broodmare sire of Storm Boot and great-grandsire of Rehear. Chief Appeal was also a sister to stakes-placed Raven Red and half-sister to Meadow Silk, dam of two stakes winners including the Indiana Derby (gr. II) victor Star Dabbler, who entered stud at Richland Hills in 2007.
The third dam of Mani Bhavan, Silken Doll (by Chieftain), was a minor stakes winner, and is half-sister to the Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) captor Turk Passer. Silken Doll comes from the family of Hildene – her fourth dam – a foundation mare for Christopher Chenery. In 1939 Chenery (who later earned fame as the breeder of Secretariat) had purchased Hildene as a yearling for just $750. She failed to win in eight starts at the track, but as a broodmare produced 1950 Horse of the Year Hill Prince; 1958 champion 2-year-old colt First Landing; and stakes winners Third Brother, Prince Hill, and Mangohick. Silken Doll’s granddam, stakes winner Copper Canyon, was by Bryan G. out of Hildene’s daughter, First Flush, making her a close genetic relative to Cicada (by Bryan G. out of a half-sister to First Flush), the first filly ever to be named champion at 2, 3 and 4. It’s Copper Canyon’s unraced Buckpasser daughter, Insilca, who is dam of Silken Doll, and fourth dam of Mani Bhavan.
As we have mentioned, Storm Boot is out of a Mr. Prospector mare, but he has done well when crossed back over stallions from the male line of that horse. To date he has been represented by six stakes winners out of Mr. Prospector-line mares. That the cross is outperforming opportunity is reflected in Mani Bhavan’s TrueNicks rating of B+. We might also note Storm Boot has the Nasrullah/Princequillo combination twice close up in his pedigree (through Secretariat and Aliata, his dam. Rehear, the dam of Mani Bhavan is inbred to Bold Ruler and line bred to the mare Pocahontas, who is out of Princequillo’s elite daughter How (with Bold Ruler and How both appearing close up in the pedigree of Chieftain, sire of Silken Doll).