The stars sparkle in the OTTB family tree

Storm Cat (1983-2013). Photo courtesy the Horse Collaborative

Storm Cat (1983-2013) was a prolific sire of great Thoroughbred sport horses. Photos courtesy the Horse Collaborative

By DENNY EMERSON — You won’t get very far in any study of the modern thoroughbred without coming across the Storm Cat line of elite racehorses, and, frequently, his son, Giant’s Causeway.

Storm Cat was by Storm Bird, by Northern Dancer. His dam, Terlingua, was by Secretariat, by Bold Ruler.

Storm Cat, then, was descended from the Nearctic sire line of Nearco on top, and from the Nasrullah sire line of Nearco on the bottom.

Storm Cat stood, for several years for a whopping $500,000.00 stud fee. You heard that right. Half a million dollars to breed to Storm Cat, and if you got a crooked legged foal, that was your tough luck.

Storm Cat stallions are “everywhere,” and Giant’s Causeway is perhaps his most popular current son, standing for $85,000 at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. for 2016.

Emerson says Tapit will ensure the Storm Cat line will continue to be a solid foundation in Thoroughbred lines.

Tapit will ensure the AP Indy line is running through many great thoroughbreds for years to come, Emerson says.

At our farm, when people truck in horses for lessons, I’d guess that at least a quarter of them (maybe more) are descendants of Storm Cat. He is ubiquitous.

Some say that Storm Cat is “Quarter-Horse-y” as he was more stocky than some thoroughbreds, but I don’t see that in his many grand-babies and great grand babies that fill the sport horse competition rings.

Another thoroughbred and thoroughbred sire line to know about is the Seattle Slew son, 1992 Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, A.P. Indy.

A.P. Indy stallions, like Storm Cat stallions, are all over the place, partly because A.P. Indy sired Pulpit, and Pulpit’s son, Tapit, is the current leading sire in North America.

A.P. Indy, like other prominent stallions including Storm Cat, Dehere, and Gone West, is out of a mare by Secretariat.

AP Indy's stallions area also well represented in the Thoroughbred world.

A.P. Indy’s stallions area also well represented in the Thoroughbred world.

So often you will hear dumdums say things like “Too bad Secretariat wasn’t such a great sire.” Well, Secretariat is “everywhere” in modern thoroughbred pedigrees through his daughters, so people need to get past their sexism about stallions versus mares as breed shapers.

With Tapit standing for 2016 at Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Kentucky for $300,000, I imagine that the AP Indy sire line will be solidly around for many decades to come.
Sure, I realize that for most, the study of pedigrees is “Ho-Hum” and irrelevant, but if you have ANY inkling of curiosity about where your thoroughbreds came from, here are a couple of sire lines, Storm Cat and A.P. Indy, that you might want to learn about.

About the Author:
Named “One of the 50 most influential horsemen of the Twentieth Century” by The Chronicle of the Horse, Denny Emerson was elected to the USEA Hall of Fame in 2005. He is the only rider to have ever won both a gold medal in eventing and a Tevis Buckle in endurance. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and author of How Good Riders Get Good, and continues to ride and train from his Tamarack Hill Farm in Vermont and Southern Pines, N.C.

About Horse Collaborative: The Horse Collaborative is a new platform for horse people to connect and share with friends. Since launching in 2012, the Horse Collaborative has quickly cultivated and connected a passionate international community of horse lovers, athletes, equine professionals, hobbyists, dreamers, and people who just think horses are cute.

— Photo and story reprinted by Off Track Thoroughbreds with permission of Denny Emerson and the Horse Collaborative.

2 responses to “The stars sparkle in the OTTB family tree”

  1. Jessica

    I love Storm Cat, A.P., & Tapit. I would also propose Mr. Prospector is also in many, many TB sport horse pedigrees.

  2. Kathy

    The problem with Secretariat as a sire traces to the breeders who sent the wrong types of mares to him. They treated him as a typical son of Bold Ruler — i.e., a speed influence. But Secretariat had a lot of distance influence in him via his dam Somethingroyal’s sire, *Princequillo, who was a noted source of stamina (and this tracks back to Denny’s point about mares as breed-shapers).

    In his early years at stud, Secretariat was bred to more distance-bred mares than speed-bred mares, which was the conventional wisdom regarding sons of Bold Ruler. Once breeders got their heads on straight and started sending him speed-bred mares, he started getting better horses. Lady’s Secret was a phenomenal racemare; her dam Great Lady M was by Icecapade. Terlingua was a out of Crimson Saint, a Crimson Satan mare, and Gone West was out of Secrettame, who was by Mr Prospector (who has been both a speed influence as well as an influence at classical distances). AP Indy is the lone outlier — he’s out of the classic-bred daughter of Buckpasser, Weekend Surprise, who carries two lines to Secretariat’s dam Somethingroyal via Secretariat himself and his half-brother, Sir Gaylord, and thus two lines to *Princequillo. AP Indy himself carries three lines to *Princequillo, the third coming through his son, the great Round Table.

    But as a broodmare sire, he’s been an incredible breed-shaper — through AP Indy and Storm Cat alone (and to a lesser extent, via Gone West, who, in his conformation photo, looked like nothing more than a dark-bay Secretariat). And let’s not forget California Chrome, who traces in tail-male to AP Indy (Pulpit – Lucky Pulpit – California Chrome).

    But the sad thing is, so few of his male descendants are active as sires, and most of them are in smaller regional markets — in fact, the Secretariat tail-male line is pretty much destined to die out.

Leave a Reply