Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Taking a Look at Top General Sire Giant's Causeway

Four years after his sire Storm Cat was pensioned, Giant's Causeway is keeping his legacy alive by once again leading the Thoroughbred Times General Sires List in the middle of the racing season.

The 1997 son of Storm Cat out of the Rahy daughter Mariah's Storm was the Champion Sire in the United States in 2010 and 2011. In addition, the stallion earned the Champion Freshman Sire title in Europe in 2004 and Champion 2yo Sire in the U.S. title in 2005. 

While his success is no mystery, his ability to stay at the top of the list over sires such as Street Cry (IRE), Distorted Humor and others is impressive.


Giant's Causeway's career was mostly spent in Europe, as the horse only ran on this side of the pond once. In his final start before retirement, Giant's Causeway came to Kentucky to race in the 2000 edition of the G1 Breeders' Cup Classic. 


The stallion's only start on dirt would prove to be successful as he would finish second by only a neck to Tiznow (who would go on to once again win the Classic the next year) and beating the Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus. 


While Giant's Causeway wouldn't go undefeated in his career, he would win nine of his 13 starts for earnings of over $3 million. 

In Europe, the stallion would win multiple top races during his two year career. Giant's Causeway would be victorious in six Grade One races in his career including the G1 St Jame's Palace Stakes and G1 Irish Champion Stakes. He would also finish second in three European G1 races.


His success on the track wasn't a complete fluke as the horse is by the 1999 and 2000 North American General Sire List leader in Storm Cat. 

Storm Cat ran in eight races, with six of those being in his two year-old year. The horse only had one graded stakes victory to his name but won four of his eight starts, also placing second in three other races. Even with his short career, Storm Cat turned into one of the leading sires in two different decades, leading the juvenile sire list a record seven times in addition to his Leading General Sire accomplishment. 

Giant's Causeway's female family has proven to be successful on the track as well, with four names in black type under his second dam Immense. 

Immense herself was a graded stakes winner on the track, winning the G3 Little Silver Handicap in addition to the ungraded Kiss Me Kate Stakes.


As a broodmare, Immense threw Panoramic, a Grade Two winner who also placed in the G1 Prix du Conseil de Paris. Immense's other foals also had success on the track, winning ungraded stakes races in their careers. One daughter, Tinaca, proved to be a force in the shed, throwing five winners including the stakes winning colt Quest Star.

Giant's Causeway's dam, Mariah's Storm, was no slouch on the track either, winning 10 of her sixteen starts for earnings of $724,895.  The mare won eight stakes races in her career in addition to placing third in the 1995 G1 Spinster Stakes. 


In retirement, Mariah's Storm had six full siblings to Giant's Causeway, however none of them lived up to their brother's success and only a few won or placed in stakes races. Mariah's Storm's two foals by other stallions never had any starts according to Equibase.

Even with his breeding and racing record, Giant's Causeway's success in the shed has proven to outlast any expectations set when he retired. 

Out of 1,711 foals in 9 crops, the stallion has had an outstanding 1,137 starters (66.4%) and 704 winners lifetime (62%). His numbers of 120 stakes winners and 63 graded stakes winners bring his lifetime earnings to an outstanding $90,361,420, almost $60 million more than the number two stallion on the list, Tapit.


Giant's Causeway doesn't seem to be slowing down this year with his percentages either. Out of his 258 starters, 89 of those horses have been winners (34.5%) with 125 wins overall on the year. In addition, Giant's Causeway currently leads the number of stakes winners and graded stakes winners with 14 and seven, respectively. 


Giant's Causeway is also the sire of one of the leading Triple Crown contenders this year in Creative Cause. While Creative Cause didn't perform as expected during the series, the colt did finish fifth in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness. Overall, the colt's stakes record stands at 9-3-2-3 during his career.


At 15-years-old, it doesn't look like Giant's Causeway will be disappearing from the breeding scene any time soon. Between his percentages and his ability to sire versatile foals, he proves in more than one way that he deserves to be at the top of the Sire List year in and year out.

Giant's Causeway currently stands for $85,000 at Ashford Stud and unlike other Coolmore stallions is exclusively standing in Kentucky. 

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