10/02/2017 3:56PM

Sparkman: Mariah's Storm's influence continues to expand


Broodmares who exert as important and pervasive an influence on the breed as great sires generally occur no more than a few times per century. Almost always they must exert that influence through great sire sons, as Urban Sea has done through her sons, the incomparable Galileo and the outstanding Sea The Stars.

Although there have been other broodmares more directly successful in producing top-class runners over the last few decades, the next obvious candidate for a mare who might exert that kind of long-term influence is Mariah’s Storm, whose great son Giant’s Causeway, by Storm Cat, has established himself as one of the pillars of the stud book, but there is every chance that other sons and grandsons of Mariah’s Storm will intensify her genetic importance over the next decade.

That potential was evident once again around the globe this weekend, most notably at Chantilly, where Mariah’s Storm’s maternal granddaughter Happily, by Galileo, defeated colts in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, but also as far away as Australia, where Giant’s Causeway’s paternal grandson Lope de Vega sired Group 1 winner Santa Ana Lane, and Belmont Park, where Giant’s Causeway’s son Creative Cause sired Grade 3 Miss Grillo Stakes winner Significant Form.

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Bred in Kentucky by Crescent Farm, by Rahy out of Grade 3 winner Immense, by Roberto, Mariah’s Storm was purchased for only $85,000 at the 1992 Keeneland September yearling sale by Bill and Margie Peters. Trained by Don Von Hemel, she won the Grade 2 Arlington Lassie at 2, but pulled up lame when she failed to finish in the Grade 2 Alcibiades.

Von Hemel got her back to the races at 3, when she won the Grade 3 Arlington Heights Oaks, and she was even better at 4 when she captured the Grade 2 Turfway Park Breeders’ Cup, Grade 3 Arlington Matron, and Grade 3 Falls City Handicap, and ran third to champion Inside Information in the Grade 1 Spinster.

Peters bred Mariah’s Storm to leading sire Storm Cat the following spring, but in the meantime, her three-quarter-brother, Panoramic, by Rainbow Quest, had won the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt. Since Immense was half-sister to champion 2-year-old filly Dearly Precious, by Dr. Fager, from the family of the late Harry Isaacs’s foundation mare Itsabet, by Heliopolis, Mariah’s Storm, a lovely, strongly made, correct mare, made a very attractive package at the 1996 Keeneland November sale, where Coolmore’s John Magnier paid a sale-topping $2.4 million.

The result of that first mating to Storm Cat was Giant’s Causeway, winner of 9 of 13 starts, including five consecutive Group 1’s in 2000, who was famously beaten only a head by Tiznow in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Leading sire three times in the United States, Giant’s Causeway’s male line appears to be secure through his classic-winning first-crop son Shamardal, and several other sons may yet establish branches of their own.

Bred to Storm Cat every year until his retirement except one, Mariah’s Storm also produced stakes-placed sons Freud, a perennial leading sire in New York; Roar of the Tiger; Tumblebrutus, who has sired 29 stakes winners, including two champions in Chile; and Tiger Dance.

That quartet’s full sister You’resothrilling, by Storm Cat, won the Group 2 Cherry Hinton Stakes at 2, and her first five foals, all by Galileo, are high-class runners. Gleneagles, the highweighted European miler of 2015, won both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas and stands at Coolmore, and his full sister Marvellous won the Irish 1000 Guineas, while full sister Coolmore captured the Group 3 C.F. and M.L. Weld Park Stakes.

Happily, who previously won the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes is You’resothrilling’s third Group 1 winner, and her current 3-year-old colt, Taj Mahal, ran second in the Grade 1 Secretariat last month.

You’resothrilling and Giant’s Causeway’s nonwinning full sister Pearling is dam of Decorated Knight, by Galileo, who won the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last month and will surely find a place at stud in Europe when his racing career is finished.

Storm the Stars, by Sea The Stars, who is out of Mariah’s Storm’s daughter Love Me Only, by Sadler’s Wells, won the Group 2 Great Voltigeur and ran second in the Irish Derby. He also is likely to stand in Europe.

Mariah’s Storm’s stakes-placed daughter Hanky Panky, by Galileo, in foal to Dubawi, topped the 2015 Tattersalls December sale at $4.2 million, and the old mare’s current 3-year-old Butterflies, by Galileo, also has placed in two Group 3 races this year in Ireland.

Betting against the ability of either of those classy fillies – or their nonwinning full sisters Often and Fabulous – to produce top-class runners with stallion potential would be a fool’s game.