A Storm Cat Kind of Weekend

Twelve graded stakes were run in North America over the weekend, and as the results came in it seemed as if you didn't have a Storm Cat-line horse, you were out of luck. When final results were tallied, runners from that line mopped up seven of those contests.

Storm Cat progeny wins included one of the weekend's biggest prizes, the $500,000 Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT), which fell to Gio Ponti, who held off the German-bred Acatenango sons (GER) Musketier (GER) and Quijano (GER). One wouldn't have necessarily expected his sire, Tale of the Cat (TrueNicks,SRO) , to get a top-class staying turf horse, but Gio Ponti -- who has now won three straight grade Is from a mile to 11 furlongs -- seems to have benefited from the stamina elements in the pedigree of his dam, Chipeta Springs, who is by Alydar out of a grade I stakes-winning daughter of the Argentine stallion Salt Marsh (by Tom Rolfe), and from the same family as Cigar. The cross with Chipeta Springs (who is also dam of stakes winners Fisher Pond and Bon Jovi Girl, one by A.P. Indy and the other by Malibu Moon), combines Tale of the Cat's broodmare sire, Mr. Prospector, with his genetic relative Alydar. The victory of Gio Ponti gave Tale of the Cat his second straight weekend grade I winner, following the success of Cat Moves in the Prioress Stakes (gr. I) July 4.

Tale of the Cat's close relative Johannesburg (by Storm Cat's son Hennessy, out of a half-sister to Tale of the Cat), also tallied in graded company at the weekend, his 4-year-old son Eaton's Gift (B) taking the Smile Sprint (gr. II) at Calder's Summit of Speed. Eaton's Gift is out of a Carson City mare, a combination we've always liked with Storm Cat as it gives the Storm Bird/Nijinsky II combination. On the same card, the Princess Rooney Stakes (gr. I) provided a first win at the highest level for Game Face, while First Passage (by Giant's Causeway), took the Azalea Stakes (gr. III). Game Face is by Storm Cat's grandson Menifee, who is now in Korea, but who also sired a handful of additional graded stakes winning fillies from his U.S. crops. Game Face is out of Galleon of Gold, a daughter of Gone West, and the stakes-winning and multiple grade I-placed Danzig mare Harbour Club.

Menifee is a son of of the short-lived Storm Cat horse Harlan, and on Sunday, other Harlan son Harlan's Holiday (TrueNicks,SRO) was represented by Necessary Evil, who turned over the colts in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III). Necessary Evil is a member of the third crop of her sire Rated A++ by TrueNicks, Necessary Evil is out of a mare by Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO) . Another Storm Cat son, Bernstein, had the third here with the colt Classical Slew.

Stormy Atlantic (TrueNicks,SRO) had a weekend stakes double. In the American Derby (gr. IIT) his son Reb (B) gained a first stakes triumph. The lightly-raced Reb was running for only the fifth time in his life, and was winning his third straight. Reb is out of a Kingmambo mare whose dam is a half-sister to Jolie's Halo. The Storm Cat line also got the third here, with Bernstein's son Proceed Bee.

Stormy Atlantic also scored July 12 with the runaway Shady Well Stakes-winning 2-year-old filly Maritime Passion. Rated A++, she is out of Dehere (TrueNicks,SRO) mare (as is the previously mentioned First Passage), and is the fifth stakes winner bred on the cross (the key: both Storm Cat and Dehere are Northern Dancer/Secretariat crosses).

Finally, last year's American Oaks (gr. I) heroine Pure Clan (by Pure Prize (TrueNicks,SRO) ) added the Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) to her resume. TrueNicks rated A++, she is out of Gather the Clan (IRE), a graded winning daughter of General Assembly and champion sprinter What a Summer.

Even though he wasn't in the male line, there was also no keeping Storm Cat out of the pedigree of the winner of the richest of the weekend's races, as Rail Trip (by Jump Start, who is by A.P. Indy (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a Storm Cat mare) tallied by three lengths in the grade I TVG/BETFAIR Hollywood Gold Cup. Rail Trip is out of a Carson City mare and inbred to Mr. Prospector, and of course is another good winner combining Carson City and Storm Cat. He's rated B.

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