Storm Cat's five-year reign as the leading sire of sale yearlings ended in 2006, when he dropped to second on the list with an average price for his progeny of $1,255,038. In 2007, he ranked third, when the average dropped to $544,038, suggesting buyer enthusiasm for his offspring was waning.
But prices for Storm Cat's yearlings could rise again this year. One reason why is the recent decision to pension the stallion. The opportunities to buy his progeny soon will be coming to an end, and that could increase demand.
"I would be surprised if they (the prices for Storm Cat yearlings) didn't rise," said Ric Waldman, who managed the great stallion's stud career. "There certainly is a finite supply whereas, in the past, we had a seemingly indefinite supply. This is one of his last of two full crops, so if anyone is interested in taking a big swing for a big stallion prospect or a big broodmare prospect, now is the time. Last year has to be considered a blip until we see the trend (of a steeply falling average price) continue."
Mark Taylor of Taylor Made Sales Agency also thinks prices for Storm Cat yearlings could bounce back this year, but his reasoning isn't tied to the stallion being pensioned. Instead, he believes Storm Cat's average fell significantly in 2007 primarily because some of his top auction prospects had veterinary issues that caused them to be scratched.
"If you take Storm Cat's numbers over the last three or four years, or any stallion's, a lot of the ones that had those really high yearling averages had them because a couple of their horses sold for huge prices at the top and were responsible in moving the needle in the right direction for them," Taylor said. "Last year, we had a Storm Cat colt that was absolutely gorgeous that all the big buyers were lined up on and wanted to bid on. But, unfortunately, he came up with a chip in his knee and all of them were off him, so the horse was scratched. And then we had a Storm Cat filly that everybody was lined up on, and she happened to come up with a weird kind of infection in her throat. She was going to bring $2 million to $3 million, and we had to scratch her. I also heard there was another really, really good Storm Cat that came up with a vet issue, too, so I think it was kind of a perfect storm."
If Storm Cat's top sale yearlings manage to remain healthy in 2008, the stallion probably will be a much stronger contender for the top spot on the leading sire list than he was in 2007, according to Taylor
"There are some other stallions that are coming up, and they're the newer and more current models in the market," Taylor said. "But I still think Storm Cat carries a tremendous amount of clout and if there are really good Storm Cats this year and they don't have vet issues, I think the big players are going to line up and try to buy them."