02/14/2013 4:41PM

Tale of the Cat: Leading sire by winners


Winning a race doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.

Every race has a winner — multiple winners in the rare exception of a dead heat — and eight or more horses win a race daily at every racetrack around the country.

With that said, a win is still hard to come by. Half the Thoroughbreds born in North America never win a race, and an even smaller percentage do it more than once in their careers.

That’s what made Tale of the Cat’s season in 2012 so special. The 19-year-old son of Storm Cat had more winners than any other sire standing in the Midwest in 2012, with 156 winners from 301 starters.

“We were very pleased that Tale of the Cat was such a prolific sire of winners in 2012 and it was great to see him continue to be one of the best sires from the Storm Cat line,” said Dermot Ryan, manager at Ashford Stud. “He has long been a consistent source of fast horses and last year was no different.”

Tale of the Cat stands at Coolmore’s U.S. breeding operation, Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., for a fee of $25,000.

He edged out his former Ashford stablemate, the late Grand Slam, by number of winners in 2012 by one. Coming in third was another Ashford stallion, Giant’s Causeway, who finished with 150 winners.

Tale of the Cat’s season was more than a decade in the making, with 1,464 starters in his 12 crops of racing age. About 21 percent of his lifetime progeny to have started made at least one start in 2012, amassing earnings of $5,951,367.

Among his runners based in the U.S., Tale of the Cat was led by Saratoga Snacks, who won four of five starts, including the Alex M. Robb Stakes at Aqueduct, for earnings of $212,600.

One of Tale of the Cat’s strongest points from his class of 2012 runners was his global presence. A perennial shuttle sire to and from Australia, Tale of the Cat had stakes winners last year in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina. His leading earner of last year, A Shin Top, won the Group 2 Keio Hai Nisai Stakes in Japan on his way to compiling earnings of $742,496.

Tale of the Cat is out of the winning Mr. Prospector mare Yarn, who has produced five winners from five foals to race. He is a half-brother to English and Irish Group 1 winner Minardi, who now stands in Australia, as well as stakes winner Spunoutacontrol, who is the dam of Grade 2 winner Fed Biz. His immediate family includes leading sires Pulpit and Johannesburg.

On the racetrack, Tale of the Cat was a versatile performer, winning the 1997 King’s Bishop Stakes at seven furlongs and finishing second in the 1998 Whitney Handicap at 1 1/8 miles. He won five of nine career starts for earnings of $360,900.

Tale of the Cat’s most famous offspring is three-time Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti, who was best known for his triumphs at distances of a mile or longer. Gio Ponti was also sound and versatile, running through the age of six and winning 12 of 29 starts and earning $6,169,800 and capturing seven Grade 1 events. But Tale of the Cat has shown that he clearly passes along on his sprinting prowess, with an average winning distance of 6.67 furlongs among his 1,038 career winners.

“Tale of the Cat recorded blistering sectionals when winning the King’s Bishop Stakes and as such proved himself to be one of Storm Cat’s fastest sons,” Ryan said. “His progeny in turn have inherited that speed and while he has sired many top two-year-olds they also improve as they get older. … His horses are fast, durable, and versatile and that is what makes Tale of the Cat such an effective sire of winners.”

Leading Kentucky general sires by 2012 number of winners

1 Tale of the Cat (1994, Storm Cat) Ashford Stud $25,000 301 156
2 Grand Slam (1995, Gone West) Died 2012 282 155
3 Giant's Causeway (1997, Storm Cat) Ashford Stud $85,000 335 150
4 Speightstown (1998, Gone West) Winstar Farm $60,000 258 148
5 Malibu Moon (1997, A.P. Indy) Spendthrift Farm $70,000 275 147
6 Elusive Quality (1993, Gone West) Darley $50,000 290 145
7 Langfuhr (1992, Danzig) Lane's End $10,000 272 143
8 Tapit (2001, Pulpit) Gainesway $125,000 262 140
8 Stormy Atlantic (1994, Storm Cat) Hill 'n' Dale Farms $30,000 270 140
8 More Than Ready (1997, Southern Halo) WinStar Farm $60,000 285 140