05/13/2013 2:28PM

Storm Cat’s Quarter Horse son wins graded stakes


The late Storm Cat had plenty of graded stakes winners during his stallion career—110, in fact—but Stray Cat’s rallying effort to win by a nose on Sunday in the Grade 3 Red Cell Remington Park Distance Challenge Stakes gave the legendary sire a new milestone: his first graded stakes winner in the Quarter Horse realm.

Stray Cat was Storm Cat’s only Quarter Horse foal, bred by artificial insemination shortly after Storm Cat was pensioned from live-cover stud duty at Overbrook Farm in 2008. The 4-year-old colt was homebred in California by Vessels Stallion Farm and country music artist Lyle Lovett, out of the multiple Grade 1-winning First Down Dash mare Your First Moon.

Stray Cat completed the 870-yard (about four furlongs) stakes in :46.124 seconds. It was Stray Cat’s second win in 15 starts, and his first stakes win, bringing his career earnings up to $45,398.

One of the biggest advantages Quarter Horse breeders identify when crossing with Thoroughbred bloodlines is added stamina. It appears Stray Cat has found his niche in the distance ranks, having spent the entirety of his 2013 campaign racing at 870 yards, and only missing the board once. He spent the first two years of his racing career struggling at shorter, traditional Quarter Horse distances.

Infertility had led to Storm Cat’s pensioning from live-cover duty, putting an end to one of the Thoroughbred breed’s most prolific stallion careers, but a special fertility procedure developed by Texas A&M University allowed him to continue breeding mares through artificial insemination, which is allowed in Quarter Horse racing.

While his advertised fee of $20,000 was a large drop from the $300,000 he stood for during his final live-cover season, it still ranked among the highest fees for a Quarter Horse mating.

Storm Cat himself did not make a large splash in the Quarter Horse realm as a progenitor of runners, but his presence can be seen as a sire of sires, with no less than ten sons currently advertised for Quarter Horse services, and many more from his sire line. Arguably the most successful of that group was the late Hennessy, who sired Grade 1 winners from both breeds.

Stray Cat’s milestone win came just a few weeks after Storm Cat was euthanized on April 24 due to the infirmities of old age. He was 30 years old.