Storm Cat, who was pensioned a few months ago, has a genetic right to be what he has become. His third dam, Bolero Rose, was bred by John Greathouse and sold as a yearling to John Hanson, a liquor dealer in North Platte, Neb. She competed primarily at Centennial Park in Denver in the early 1960s, a time when racing was of consequence there. She won or placed in eight stakes, racing principally against colts and frequently beating them. She equaled a track record at Centennial going six furlongs in 1:082⁄5, which was extraordinarily fast in that era.
In 1965, I flew up to North Platte and bought Bolero Rose for $25,000 while she was in foal to Swoon’s Son. Unfortunately, that foal died shortly after birth. Bolero Rose was then sent to Kentucky to be bred, and in 1968 went to be covered by Crimson Satan. In 1969, she foaled a filly that I sold privately for $11,000 as a yearling. I had just taken over Walmac Farm and was in the middle of restoring it, and, as always, needed money. That filly turned out to be Crimson Saint.
Crimson Saint, as a yearling and later as a racehorse, was one of four or five of the most perfectly conformed horses I have seen during almost 60 years of association with Thoroughbreds. Her racing performance paralleled her spectacular physique. As a 2-year-old, she won a maiden race and then the Ballerina Stakes at Oaklawn Park, in which she equaled the world record for four furlongs. Doug Davis, who in that era was perennially the leading trainer of winning 2-year-olds, ran second that day with a good filly named Apple Jackie. I saw Doug at the Keeneland meet after Oaklawn Park had finished its spring meet and Doug said to me, “You little Texas S.O.B., you have bred the fastest 2-year-old I have ever seen, and I have won more 2-year-old races than anybody!”
Crimson Saint went on to win three more stakes races, and in the Hollywood Express Handicap (gr. III), ran 5 1⁄2 furlongs in 1:02 4⁄5 when beating colts. She also won the Meteor Handicap running five furlongs in :56 flat, setting the Hollywood Park track record. She retired from racing and was bought through the Keeneland November breeding stock sale by Tommy Gentry, a very astute horseman. Among the stallions to which Gentry bred Crimson Saint was Secretariat and from that cover she produced the good filly Terlingua.
Terlingua was sold by Gentry as a yearling to L.R. French Jr. and Barry Beal, both Texas oilmen with considerable history in racing. Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas selected the filly and subsequently trained her, winning seven stakes races, including one against colts, a notable family characteristic.
At the end of Terlingua's racing career, I bought all of French and Beal’s fillies including Terlingua and Cinegita, keeping only those two. I had just purchased Storm Bird and was looking for mares to breed to him. Concurrently, I was finishing construction on the first stallion barn at Ashford Stud.
As fate would have it, one day W.T. Young drove into Ashford and asked if I would help him with his involvement in the Thoroughbred business.
I told him of my acquisition of Terlingua, for whom I had paid $2 million, and of Cinegita, for whom I had paid $300,000, and Mr. Young declared himself a partner.
In the dark days of the early 1980s, I began to see signs of imminent disaster in the business affairs of my partner in Ashford Stud. About the same time, Mr. Young called me with dire news (from banking circles) of my partner’s finances (reference two books: Funny Money and Belly Up) and asked me to break up the Terlingua/Cinegita partnership, which I did. He retained the mares.
As fate would have it, Terlingua was carrying Storm Cat in utero.
How close we can get to the equine “Promised Land” and not take that last step! However, it is very gratifying to see Storm Cat become a legend.
Dr. William Lockridge is a Central Kentucky farm developer, breeder, bloodstock adviser, and retired veterinarian.