Finding the right stallion to stand in a regional market such as Arkansas is a daunting task. Most successful stallions are stakes winners, usually graded, sired by proven sire of sires, and out of mares descending from a blue hen families. This, of course, is cost-prohibitive for most state-bred programs. Consequently, regional markets must sacrifice either pedigree or performance, and often both, when standing a stallion.
A stallion prospect with a strong black-type race record but light on pedigree (sired by a low-level stallion and/or weak female family) will often sire a high percentage of runners and winners but few stakes horses. Conversely, an unraced or lightly-raced stallion prospect with a pedigree “to die for” but without black-type earnings, usually sires a low percentage of runners and winners but will occasionally catch “lightning in a bottle,” coming up with a graded stakes performer that attracts national attention. On very rare occasions, along comes a stallion who does both. Enter Storm and a Half!
Storm and a Half is by Storm Cat out of the G3 winner At the Half, by Seeking the Gold, and half-sister to G1 winner Spruce Needles and multiple stakes winner Dusty Gloves. Storm and a Half’s strong pedigree and impressive conformation did not go unnoticed at the Keeneland September sale in 1998, where he brought $1.2 million, the third highest priced Storm Cat of 16 Storm Cat yearlings sold that year.
Unraced, Storm and a Half retired to stud at McDowell Farm in Sparkman for the 2001 breeding season. From his first crop of 44 foals, he’s sired 34 runners (75%) and 24 winners (55%) to date. Even more impressive, he’s sired four stakes winners from that crop. From his first three crops to race that include two-year-olds of 2006, he’s had 123 foals, 77 runners, 49 winners, 10 stakes winners (8%), and another 11 who are stakes-placed to date. And, he’s already caught “lightning in a bottle” with Downthedustyroad, winner of the G1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on 12/30/06. For any stallion standing outside of Kentucky, Florida or Maryland to sire a Grade One winner, it is, indeed, an extraordinary event.
So, how good are Storm and a Half’s stats? It is my opinion that if Storm and a Half were standing in Kentucky for 2007, his book (120 mares) would already be full at $10,000, probably full at $12,500, and possibly full at $15,000.
The major factor in Storm and a Half’s favor is that he is by sire of sires Storm Cat, not to mention that Seeking the Gold is one of the best high-class broodmare sires in the world. Interestingly, 2006’s surprise freshman sire Pure Prize, who ranked No. 3 behind Street Cry and Johannesburg while standing for only $7,500, is also by Storm Cat and out of a Seeking the Gold mare. To take this one step further, Downthedustyroad is out of a Crafty Prospector mare, as is Pure Prize’s 2yo SW Cowgirls Don’t Cry!
To date, there have been five other unrestricted SWs sired by sons of Storm Cat out of Crafty Prospector mares – G1 winner Harmony Lodge (by Hennessy), G3 winner Win McCool (by Giant’s Causeway), Mary Delaney (by Hennessy), and Sea the Joy (by Stormy Atlantic). Additionally, G2 winner Fast Parade (by Storm Cat’s son Delineator) is out of a Prospectors Gamble (by Crafty Prospector) mare.
Storm and a Half sure looks to me to be the real deal and it would not surprise to see another Downthedustyroad burst on the scene in the not too distant future, particularly if more Crafty Prospector mares take up residence in Arkansas!