01/17/2009 12:00AM

Storm Cat not finished as sire


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Overbrook Farm pensioned its great sire Storm Cat earlier this year due to declining fertility, but the 26-year-old horse's breeding career apparently isn't entirely over.

Quarter Horse breeders have the opportunity to breed to Storm Cat through artificial insemination, which is allowed under Quarter Horse registry rules but not for Thoroughbreds. Storm Cat, whose stud fee peaked at $500,000 during his highly successful breeding career, will have a $20,000 live-foal stud fee for Quarter Horses and will probably cover between 10 and 20 mares.

Overbrook adviser Ric Waldman said it's not about the money anyway.

"It's interesting to see what Storm Cat's legacy might be in the Quarter Horse breed," he said. "They have a need for outcrosses; their inbreeding is perhaps worse than ours. And he can sire precocious, speedy horses. That fits into their ballgame.

"But the amount of revenue we're going to make isn't significant."

Chances are his crops will be somewhat limited. In 2008, Storm Cat impregnated just three of 32 mares. Technology at Texas A&M will allow veterinarians there to extract the highest-quality semen available from Storm Cat, but, even so, the $20,000 fee is considered a high one in the Quarter Horse world.

Overbrook teamed up with Dr. Dickson Varner, a stallion reproductive specialist at Texas A&M, to offer Storm Cat's semen to Quarter Horse breeders. Semen collected from Storm Cat last spring is stored at the university, which handles bookings and breeds the mares, Waldman said. The stallion's first Quarter Horse mare under this system is Your First Moon, and, if she produces a foal, its owners will be country music singer Lyle Lovett and Frank "Scoop" Vessels III of Vessels Stallion Farm in California.

Your First Moon is a Grade 1 winner and 2-year-old filly champion of 2001 in Quarter Horse racing.

"We asked Dr. Varner to help us with Storm Cat's fertility problems last year, and he suggested that we collect and store his semen for whatever future use there might be," Waldman said.

When Varner later suggested Quarter Horse breeding, Overbrook gave the nod earlier this month.

Storm Cat is not the first well-known Thoroughbred to cover Quarter Horses. Alydar did it, and so did Hennessy.

Under the procedure Texas A&M uses, sperm from a single ejaculate can be used to impregnate hundreds of mares, which could make it possible for Storm Cat to enjoy a long Quarter Horse breeding career off the semen collection from 2008.

Waldman said Overbrook hasn't yet made plans to collect any more of Storm Cat's semen but is looking forward to seeing the results of this experiment.

"We'd like to see what he can do in the Quarter Horse world," he said. "That's the interest and the intrigue to us."

Rare white colt attracts $60K at sale

White Prince, a rare white Thoroughbred colt, stole the show at Keeneland's January all-ages sale Friday, topping the day's prices on a $60,000 bid.

Buyer Christy Whitman of Whitman Sales said she plans to point him for the August yearling sale at Ocala Breeders' Sales Company.

Patchen Wilkes Farm sold the yearling Devil His Due colt through Rick Trontz's Hopewell Farm agency. Patchen Wilkes also bred the colt's dam, the Hatchet Man mare Patchen Beauty. She won 2 of her 22 starts, earning $54,268.

The white colt added some eye-catching fun to Friday's proceedings, but the auction's fifth session ended with more declines. Through Friday, the auction has sold 1,125 horses for $31,028,200, down 53 percent from last year's four-day total for 1,145 horses. The average also fell 53 percent to $27,581, and the median was down 58 percent to $4,500.

The auction was to continue through Saturday, with the final session starting at 10 a.m.

Hidden Lake retired to Old Friends

Hidden Lake, 1997's champion older female, will retire from breeding at the Old Friends Thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown, Ky., the farm announced Friday.

Owner Robert S. Evans initially entered the 16-year-old Quiet American mare in the Keeneland January sale but decided to retire her instead.

Raced by Robert Clay and Tracy Farmer, Hidden Lake won three Grade 1 races en route to her championship - the Beldame, Hempstead, and Go for Wand - and earned more than $947,000. Evans purchased her as a broodmare for $525,000 in 2005.

Hidden Lake has produced four winners from seven starters.

She was to arrive at Old Friends in a Sallee van on Saturday. The farm is open to the public and visitors are welcome.

Fundraiser for injured farm worker

Friends of farm and sales worker Torey Phelps, who was badly injured in a November car crash, have established a fund to help with her rehabilitation.

The 25-year-old is undergoing intensive therapy in Hamilton, New Zealand, where she had been working at Windsor Park Stud and at Karaka Thoroughbred sales. Phelps most recently worked in the United States at Bluewater Sales and previously held positions with Lane's End's Oak Tree division, Dapple Stud, Kesmarc, and other central Kentucky facilities.

A sales-week fundraiser attended by more than 120 people at Harvey's in downtown Lexington raised almost $8,000 for her rehabilitation, according to Rosie Napier of Bluewater sales.

To donate, contact morgan.phelps.crane@gmail.com.

* Begin, the dam of 2001 champion 3-year-old filly Xtra Heat, has died at age 29. Crestwood Farm in Lexington announced Friday that the stakes-placed Hatchet Man mare was euthanized Jan. 14. Begin also is the dam of graded-placed Bless Our Home, who died last year, and the stakes-placed runner Fit and Ready.