02/14/2013 4:47PM

Stormy Atlantic: Leading sire by turf stakes winners


Veteran Hill 'n’ Dale Farms stallion Stormy Atlantic continued to enhance his reputation as a top sire of turf runners in 2012 when his progeny captured graded stakes across the U.S. and in Canada. The 19-year-old son of the legendary Storm Cat was represented by nine turf stakes winners, best among Midwest stallions, and finished second in turf earnings to the late Dynaformer and second in number of turf winners to Kitten’s Joy.

Stormy Atlantic’s position atop this list was a big jump from 2011, when he sired three stakes winners on turf. One of those 2011 stakes winners put the finishing touches on a stellar career in 2012, when Get Stormy, Stormy Atlantic’s leading earner, won his third Grade 1 stakes in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and placed in two other graded stakes in five starts. The classy 7-year-old was retired last fall and will stand at stud this year at Pope McLean’s Crestwood Farm in Lexington, Ky.

Get Stormy was joined in the Grade 1 ranks by Next Question, the 5-year-old gelding who won the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes at six furlongs at Woodbine last fall in his stakes debut. On the West Coast, My Best Brother captured the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby. Stormy Atlantic’s progeny also captured stakes on turf at Parx Racing, Golden Gate, Arlington, Delaware, and Evangeline Downs. Stormy Atlantic was represented in England by Kentucky-bred filly Ollie Olga, who took the Group 3 Prestige Stakes during Goodwood’s boutique summer meeting.

An Arthur Appleton homebred trained by Robert Camac, Stormy Atlantic enjoyed only modest success as a racehorse in the late 1990s, never starting on turf and retiring to Appleton’s Bridlewood Farm in Ocala, Fla., in 1999 after winning six of 13 starts and earning $148,126, tallying two minor stakes wins on the Mid-Atlantic circuit.

Stormy Atlantic’s pedigree, however, is replete with top-class horses on both turf and dirt. His dam, the Seattle Slew mare Hail Atlantis, won the 1990 Santa Anita Oaks, and his second dam, Flippers, by Coastal, was a multiple stakes winner in the U.S. and a half-sister to English and Irish champion Apalachee and Irish champion Belted Earl. Stormy Atlantic’s third dam, Moccasin, won Horse of the Year in 1965 as a 2-year-old and is a daughter of one of the most important broodmares of the 20th century, Rough Shod II.

It did not take long for Stormy Atlantic to make headlines as a sire. A filly from his first crop was the subject of a bidding war between Coolmore and Prince Ahmed bin Salman’s The Thoroughbred Corp. at the Barretts March selected 2-year-olds in training sale in March 2002 and ended up selling for $1.9 million to Salman – at the time was the highest price for a juvenile filly sold at public auction. That filly, Atlantic Ocean, became a Grade 3 winner on both dirt and turf and earned nearly $700,000.

Stormy Atlantic relocated to John Sikura’s Hill 'n’ Dale in Lexington in 2003 and has been one of the farm’s most consistent sires. He covered 81 mares in 2012 according to Jockey Club statistics, and Hill ‘n’ Dale President John G. Sikura said that his book in 2013 would encompass between 80 and 100 mares at a fee of $30,000.

“He’s a middle-aged horse, so we’re careful not to overuse the horse,” Sikura said, “but he’s been popular every year at stud, and remains so.”

Sikura said that a key to Stormy Atlantic’s success is he gets runners on all surfaces and distances and that he crosses well with mares from many sire lines.

“One of the great things about Stormy Atlantic is his versatility,” he said. “That’s an often-used term, but in his case, it’s absolutely true. He gets dirt, turf, and synthetic horses, and he gets colts and fillies. They run at two, three, and four, they run short; they run middle distance; and they run long. So, they can really do everything. So, he’s supported from so many different aptitude types, and pedigree types.”

“One pedigree that he seems to have a real affinity with are Carson City mares," Sikura said.

Stormy Atlantic has sired 74 stakes winners from 1,169 foals 3 and up (6.3 percent), including Canadian champion juveniles Leonnatus Anteas and Maritimer and dirt Grade 1 winner Stormello. Another of his non-turf performers, multiple graded stakes-placed Barbecue Eddie, earned his first stakes win last month in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 in Dubai. 

Leading Kentucky sires by 2012 number of turf stakes winners

1 Stormy Atlantic (1994, Storm Cat) Hill 'n' Dale Farms $30,000 151 49 9
2 City Zip (1998, Carson City) Lane's End $25,000 98 36 8
2 Kitten's Joy (2001, El Prado IRE) Ramsey Farm $50,000 143 54 8
2 Smart Strike (1992, Mr. Prospector) Lane's End $85,000 116 42 8
5 Dynaformer (1985, Roberto) Died 2012 88 23 6
5 English Channel (2002, Smart Strike) Lane's End $25,000 87 38 6
5 Indian Charlie (1995, In Excess IRE) Died 2011 67 17 6
8 Ghostzapper (2000, Awesome Again) Adena Springs Kentucky $40,000 78 21 5
8 Giant's Causeway (1997, Storm Cat) Ashford Stud $85,000 144 45 5
8 More Than Ready (1997, Southern Halo) WinStar Farm $60,000 125 33 5
8 War Front (2002, Danzig) Claiborne Farm $80,000 63 19 5