05/13/2008 12:00AM

Storm Cat pensioned at 25

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The great American sire Storm Cat has been pensioned from stud duty, Overbrook Farm announced Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Storm Bird horse had shown declining fertility this year and has three mares in foal, according to Ric Waldman, who managed the stallion for Overbrook. Storm Cat covered more than 30 mares in 2008 at a fee of $300,000, down from his $500,000 fee in 2007.

"We have been monitoring his semen quality throughout the breeding season, and there's been a decline in the quality of his semen," Waldman said.

Storm Cat will remain at Overbrook in Lexington for the remainder of his days.

"He's been a great asset to the farm, and it's been a privilege to be able to be associated with him," Waldman added.

Waldman said that Storm Cat is in good health for his age.

The announcement of Storm Cat's pensioning came one day after another highly influential and fashionable sire, Coolmore's flagship stallion Sadler's Wells, also was retired due to age-related fertility declines.

Storm Cat is the sire of 18 racing-aged crops. He has sired eight champions: 2000 European Horse of the Year Giant's Causeway, now a popular stallion himself; 2002 champion juvenile filly Storm Flag Flying; 2004 champion juvenile filly Sweet Catomine; Canada's 2005 champion turf mare Ambitious Cat; European champion juvenile of 2002 Hold That Tiger; European champion juvenile of 1998 Aljabr; European champion juvenile of 2003 One Cool Cat; and 1995 Canadian champion juvenile filly Silken Cat.

He also is the sire of 1999 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Cat Thief, Preakness and Belmont winner Tabasco Cat, and such Grade 1 or Group 1 winners as Sharp Cat, Storm Beauty, Black Minnaloushe, Denebola, Bluegrass Cat, Raging Fever, High Yield, and numerous other outstanding runners.

Storm Cat's progeny have been enormously popular - and pricey - in the yearling market in the last 15 years or so and frequently were the subjects of intense bidding wars between Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley organization and rival Coolmore Stud. Among his top-priced horses at auction were $9.7 million Jalil in 2005, $8 million Mr. Sekiguchi in 2004, $6.8 million Tasmanian Tiger in 2000, $6.4 million Van Nistelrooy in 2001, and $6.3 million Objectivity in 2005. Another yearling, $4.4 million Moon's Whisper, set a world record price for a yearling filly in 2000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

On Tuesday, Storm Cat ranked 38th on the general sire list with progeny earnings of $1,482,884. Three of his sons ranked in the top 10 on the same list, with Giant's Causeway second, Tale of the Cat sixth, and Stormy Atlantic seventh.

Storm cat is a son of Terlingua, who died in late April at Overbrook at age 32.