03/12/2015 6:38PM

Sparkman: El Kabeir extending Storm Cat line

Michael Amoruso
El Kabeir, who is riding the New York road to the Kentucky Derby, is helping sire Scat Daddy extend the Storm Cat male line.

As we have discussed in this space on several occasions, the Storm Cat male line has not flourished in exactly the manner breeders anticipated when his yearlings were all the rage during the first five years of the 21st century. Among Storm Cat’s sons, only Giant’s Causeway developed into a genuinely top sire, and Giant’s Causeway’s champion son Shamardal has already passed on the male line to his highweighted son Lope de Vega, leading 2014 freshman sire in Europe.

One other branch of the Storm Cat male line has successfully extended to the third generation, that descending through Hennessy, a brilliant 2-year-old who never raced after his juvenile season. Winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful and Grade 2 Sapling and Hollywood Juvenile Championship and second to Unbridled’s Song in a memorable Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Hennessy was a good but inconsistent stallion who has sired 76 stakes winners from 1,401 foals (5.4 percent).

Hennessy’s best son, Johannesburg, a small, typey horse, earned world champion juvenile status in 2001 through an unbeaten campaign that included Group 1 wins in England, France, and Ireland, plus a sensational victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Johannesburg went on to place just once from three starts at 3, and was never very popular with breeders with his small stature and unimpressive physique, but to date he has sired 66 stakes winners from 1,604 foals in his first 10 crops for a 4 percent strike rate.

Like his sire, Johannesburg was not a consistent stallion, capable of siring top-class runners, but too hit or miss to attain fashionable status. He now stands in Japan after a peripatetic stud career in which he has sired Group 1 or Grade 1 winners in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Argentina.

Johannesburg’s best American son, Scat Daddy, is the physical antithesis of his sire. A big, lengthy, strikingly muscular horse, Scat Daddy won the Grade 1 Champagne at 2 and the Grade 1 Florida Derby at 3 before being injured in the Kentucky Derby and retired the next month. Scat Daddy’s overall percentages are much better than his sire’s and grandsire’s, and he appears to have a genuine Kentucky Derby prospect this year in El Kabeir, winner of the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes on March 7 at Aqueduct

Bred in Kentucky by Axel Wend, Scat Daddy was the second foal out of Love Style, an unraced daughter of Mr. Prospector from a good family developed mostly by Millard Waldheim’s Bwamazon Farm. Trainer Todd Pletcher purchased Scat Daddy for $250,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale on behalf of James T. Scatuorchio.

Scat Daddy won his first start at Belmont Park on June 3, 2006, and followed up eight weeks later with a neck victory in the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes. Beaten 4 1/4 lengths by Circular Quay in the Grade 1 Hopeful, he gained ample compensation with a three-quarter-length victory over Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Champagne. Second choice to Circular Quay for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, neither Scat Daddy nor anyone else saw which way Street Sense went in the homestretch and he finished fourth, beaten 15 lengths.

Third in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in his first start at 3, Scat Daddy won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and the Grade 1 Florida Derby in succession but strained a tendon when running unplaced in the Derby. Coolmore partners Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith had purchased an interest in Scat Daddy, and he was retired to Coolmore for the 2008 season and began shuttling to Chile in 2009.

Scat Daddy made a substantial splash with his first crop when his son Daddy Long Legs (out of Dreamy Maiden, by Meadowlake) captured the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes and followed up with a victory in the Group 2 UAE Derby the next spring. That crop also included multiple Grade 1 winner Lady of Shamrock (Blushing Issue, by Blushing John), Grade 2 winner Handsome Mike (Classic Strike, by Smart Strike), and Grade 3 winners Daddy Nose Best (Follow Your Bliss, by Thunder Gulch) and Finale (Twinkle, by Lively One). 

That was encouraging, but Scat Daddy’s success on his annual trips to Chile has established him as the most dominant sire there in decades. His first Chilean crop included Chilean Horse of the Year Solaria (So Linda, by Seeker’s Reward), and his second is headed by Il Campione (Global Gold, by Pleasant Tap), a winner of 8 of 10 starts who is considered the best horse bred in Chile in many years. Il Campione was recently purchased by an American partnership and will be trained by Chad Brown. Scat Daddy has been leading sire in Chile for the last two years.

El Kabeir is the first foal out of Great Venue, an unraced daughter of Unbridled’s Song. Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Great Venue was sold for $150,000 to Glen Hill Farm at the 2009 Keeneland September sale. Great Venue never made it to the races and was sold for $95,000 at the 2011 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. fall mixed sale to Rustlewood Farm, the breeder of El Kabeir.

Stonestreet had purchased Great Venue’s dam, Rose Colored Lady, by Formal Dinner, for $750,000 at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected fall mixed sale, 10 years after she sold for only $20,000 at the 1996 OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. By that time, Rose Colored Lady had provided multiple reasons for her dramatic increase in value.

Winner herself of the restricted Ohio Discovery Stakes, her first foal, Barnsy, by Langfuhr, won two Ohio-bred stakes and placed in four others, and her second, Ready for Roses, by More Than Ready, won two more. Rose Colored Lady’s third foal, Too Much Bling, by Rubiano, was a far classier animal. A horse with brilliant early speed, Too Much Bling captured the Grade 2 Carry Back and San Vicente, as well as the Grade 3 Bay Shore. Too Much Bling now stands in Texas and has sired 14 stakes winners.

Rose Colored Lady’s fourth foal, Littlebitabling, by Carson City, had also won a restricted stakes by the time Stonestreet purchased her, but Rose Colored Lady has since produced only one more foal, an unplaced filly by Hard Spun.

Rose Colored Lady is a full sister to Ohio-bred stakes winner Forest Picnic and a half-sister to another in Pyrite Sprints, by Wekiva Springs. Their dam, Pink Forest, by Green Forest, is a half-sister to German stakes winner and highweight Mister Slippers, by Miswaki, and their dam, Chaussons Rose, by Lyphard, was a half-sister to French champion and classic winner Baiser Vole, by Foolish Pleasure, from an outstanding French family.

Zayat Stables purchased El Kabeir for $250,000 at the 2013 OBS August yearling sale. Trained by John Terranova, El Kabeir won his maiden by 10 3/4 lengths at Saratoga and then ran fourth in the Grade 1 Champagne and second in the Grade 2 Nashua. He closed his juvenile season with a front-running victory in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. El Kabeir has spent the winter running in Aqueduct’s series of Derby preps, with wins in the Jerome and Gotham sandwiching a second to Far From Over in the Withers. 

El Kabeir’s pedigree carries three crosses of Mr. Prospector, including two from Scat Daddy’s 4x2 inbreeding to that great sire, along with sixth-generation duplications of Bold Ruler and the outstanding broodmare Grand Splendor.

Since his first foals hit the track, Scat Daddy’s popularity has soared, and one of his juveniles recently topped the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of selected 2-year-olds in training at $1.4 million. His current crop of American 3-year-olds includes stakes winners Daddy D T, Conquest Boogaloo, and Spanish Pipedream.

From 449 foals age 3 and up worldwide, Scat Daddy has sired 37 stakes winners. That 8 percent stakes winners to foals ratio is much higher than that of his sire or grandsire and may well indicate that Scat Daddy is likely to extend the male line of Storm Cat at least one more generation.