11/08/2012 12:04PM

Breeders' Cup 2012: Storm Cat's male line rules

Barbara D. Livingston
Storm Cat had four male-line descendents win at this year's Breeders' Cup: Beholder in the Juvenile Fillies, Shanghai Bobby in the Juvenile, Trinniberg in the Sprint, and Wise Dan in the Mile.

From the death of Mr. Prospector in 1999 until his own retirement from stud in 2008, Storm Cat was the most important commercial sire in the world. The primary reason for that commercial popularity was that he was perceived as the next great sire of sires, making his sons extremely valuable commodities at yearling sales.

Although several of his sons can accurately be labeled successful sires, only one, his best son, Giant’s Causeway, has emerged as a superstar sire. The enduring power of the Storm Cat male line has never been more evident, however, than at the 2012 Breeders’ Cup, where his male-line descendants won four of the 15 events: Beholder (Juvenile Fillies), Shanghai Bobby (Juvenile), Trinniberg (Sprint), and Wise Dan (Mile). A son of one of his daughters – Hightail (Juvenile Sprint) – captured a fifth Breeders’ Cup event.

That brought the total number of Breeders’ Cup winners for the Storm Cat male line to 13, and two other Breeders’ Cup winners for the male line of Storm Cat’s grandsire, Northern Dancer, solidified Northern Dancer’s overall lead in Breeders’ Cup winners. As shown in the accompanying table, the Northern Dancer male line has accounted for 73 individual Breeders’ Cup winners since the event’s inauguration in 1984. The Mr. Prospector and Nasrullah male lines rank a distant second and third, with 52 and 50 individual winners.

The Mr. Prospector line added five winners to its total, including Classic winner Fort Larned, plus a repeat win for Royal Delta in the Ladies’ Classic. Last year, Mr. Prospector dominated the Breeders’ Cup when his male-line descendants won seven of the 15 races, including victories by Drosselmeyer and Royal Delta in the two Classics.

The Seattle Slew branch of the Nasrullah male line continued its upward mobility, adding two more winners to bring its total to 17. But it was another male descendant of Nasrullah, Mizzen Mast, who produced the outstanding sire performance of the two-day event when his daughters Flotilla and Mizdirection captured the Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Turf Sprint. Mizzen Mast joined Cox’s Ridge (1985), Nureyev (1987), Kris S. (1993), Sadler’s Wells (2003), Awesome Again (2004), Smart Strike (2007), Chester House (2008), and More Than Ready (2010) as sires with two Breeders’ Cup winners in one year.

Juvenile winner Shanghai Bobby is a grandson of Storm Cat’s first-crop son Harlan, who served first notice that Storm Cat would be a sire of sires. Harlan’s best son, Harlan’s Holiday, sire of Shanghai Bobby, won the 2002 Florida Derby and Blue Grass Stakes and 2003 Donn Handicap and has been a consistent sire of stakes winners (6 percent from foals) but has sired only two previous Grade 1 winners.

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Three of Storm Cat’s winners trace their descent through his son Hennessy, the first son of Storm Cat to make a commercial impression at stud. From Storm Cat’s fifth crop, the first conceived after it was apparent that Storm Cat would be a top sire, Hennessy was one of the best 2-year-olds of 1995, winning the Hopeful, Sapling, and Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes and running second to Unbridled’s Song in the Juvenile.

Hennessy broke down before racing at 3 and was a successful if not particularly consistent sire while shuttling between hemispheres until his death in 2007. Hennessy sired 76 stakes winners from 1,401 foals (5.4 percent), led by European and American champion 2-year-old Johannesburg, Australian champion Grand Armee, Canadian champion Inglorious, and dual European classic winner Special Duty.

Johannesburg’s speedy son Teuflesberg is sire of Sprint winner Trinniberg from his first crop. Teuflesberg won three stakes, including the 2007 Woody Stephens Stakes, and stands at Journeyman Stud in Florida.

Hennessy’s two-time Grade 1-winning son Henny Hughes, who was sold earlier this year to stand in Australia, sired Juvenile Fillies winner Beholder. Wise Dan, the brilliant winner of the Mile, is by far the best horse sired by Hennessy’s well-bred son Wiseman’s Ferry, who stands at Dana Point Farm in Pennsylvania. Stakes-placed at 2 in Ireland, Wiseman’s Ferry won the West Virginia and Lone Star derbies at 3.

The 2012 Breeders’ Cup also marked the continued blossoming of the A.P. Indy branch of the Seattle Slew male line. Grandson Hightail, by A.P. Indy’s champion son Mineshaft, won the Juvenile Sprint, and his great-grandson Tapizar, by Tapit, by Pulpit, by A.P. Indy, scored impressively in the Dirt Mile.

Breeders' Cup winners by male line

Horse Winners
Northern Dancer 73
Mr. Prospector 52
Nasrullah 50
Turn-to 19
Ribot 9
Damascus 6
Icecapade 6
In Reality 6
Djebel 4
Speak John 4