Belmont Stakes 2015: Storm Cat and Bad Seed

Recently, there has been some discussion about the ability (or inability) of Storm Cat horses to get a route of ground, specifically the historical performance of his progeny in the Belmont Stakes. Let’s look at his performance as it pertains to the race.

Note: The below does not take into account any other potential stamina (or lack thereof) influences in the pedigree – it’s simply looking at the appearance/placement of Storm Cat.


GENERAL NUMBERS

  • Storm Cat’s first crop were foals of 1989, thereby making them 3-year-olds of 1992.
    • From 1992 to 2014 (23 editions of the race), 240 horses have contested the Belmont Stakes.
      • Of these 240 starters, 24 horses (across 12 editions of the race) have possessed Storm Cat somewhere in their pedigree.
      • A total of 143 horses ran in the 12 editions in which the Storm Cat horses appeared.
    • Horses with Storm Cat have comprised 10% of the fields since 1992 (23 races from 1992 to 2014), or 17% of the fields in which they actually competed (12 races).
  • Of Storm Cat’s 24 Belmont starters, six (25%) have finished in the money. However, his success in the race has been front loaded.
    • Storm Cat horses hit the board in six of the first seven editions in which they appeared (12 starters with six in the money finishes across 1994, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008).
    • Since 2009, despite Storm Cat’s overall number of starters increasing with each edition of the race, horses with Storm Cat blood have failed to hit the board in their next five attempts (12 starters with no in the money finishes across 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014).

PLACEMENT OF STORM CAT IN THE PEDIGREE

  • Every Belmont Stakes starter immediately sired by Storm Cat has finished either first or second in the race: Tabasco Cat (1st 1994), Vision and Verse (2nd 1999), and Bluegrass Cat (2nd 2006).
    • The results of Storm Cat as an immediate damsire are mixed, with one 3rd place finish (Sunday Break (JPN), 2002) and one 11th place finish (Ride on Curlin, 2014).
  • While a direct shot of Storm Cat has had success in the race, it’s when you begin to dilute the influence and look at Storm Cat as a sire of sires that things start to go badly.
    • Storm Cat has been represented by sixteen separate tail-male descendants in the race: Bernstein, Catienus, Forestry, Frost Giant, Giant’s Causeway, Harlan, Harlan’s Holiday, Hennessy, Into Mischief, Lion Heart, Lion Hearted, Mountain Cat, Noble Causeway, Scat Daddy, Tabasco Cat, and Tale of the Cat.
    • Of 16 starters with Storm Cat in the tail-male, only two (13%) have finished in the money: Harlan’s Holiday-sired Denis of Cork (2nd 2008) and Catienus-sired Nolan’s Cat (3rd 2005).
    • As sire of damsire: Storm Cat has appeared as the sire of the damsire in two starters (Ice Box [Tabasco Cat], 9th 2010; Commanding Curve [Lion Hearted], 9th 2014), and the damsire of the sire once (Icabad Crane [Jump Start], 8th 2008), with all three starters finishing well out of the money.
    • Tabasco Cat, Storm Cat’s only Belmont Stakes winner, has so far been unable to reproduce his successful performance in his descendants, with just one Belmont starter possessing Tabasco Cat in his pedigree (Ice Box, 9th 2010).

Storm Cat in the Belmont Stakes


BAD SEED
Through her son Pirate’s Bounty (1975), the Stevward mare Bad Seed (1969) has appeared on the damside of three Belmont starters, all of whom have hit the board: Da’Tara (1st 2008), Denis of Cork (2nd 2008), and Medal Count (3rd 2014).

Note: Da’Tara and Denis of Cork are cousins, with Da’Tara’s dam Torchera (by Pirate’s Bounty) a full sister to Denis of Cork’s 2nd dam Sound Wisdom (by same).

With the expected entry of American Pharoah in the 2015 Belmont, the blood of Bad Seed will once again make an appearance – though this time not through Pirate’s Bounty, but through her daughter Sown (1983).

By the Graustark sire Grenfall, Sown has been a successful producer most recently of note as the 2nd dam of champion Shared Belief. However, though daughter Key Phrase (1991), she also happens to be the 2nd dam of Yankee Gentleman (by the aforementioned Storm Cat), the damsire of American Pharoah.

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