Leading Thoroughbred sire Storm Cat (photo by Tony Leonard), 25, retired from stud in 2008 because of age-related sub-fertility, has been bred by artificial insemination to Quarter Horse racing champion Your First Moon. The process, developed under the guidance of Dickson Varner DVM, Professor of Theriogenology at Texas A&M University, involves a relatively new procedure designed to increase the quality and viability of equine sperm via density centrifugation.

Storm Cat stood for $300,000 in 2008, following six seasons at $500,000. His current fee to Quarter Horse mares is $20,000.

“While the Jockey Club prohibits the use of artificial insemination, semen processed in this manner from a Thoroughbred stallion can be used for insemination of American Quarter Horse mares,” said Varner. “This represents a means to prolong the breeding career of a stallion whose fertility declines as a part of the aging process.”

This is the first attempt at using the procedure in a Thoroughbred stallion, although it has been used in Quarter Horses, most recently with 24-year-old leading cutting horse sire Dual Pep, who stands for $15,000 at Hartman Equine Equine Reproduction Center in Whitesboro, TX. As an associate of Dr. Varner, Dr. David Hartman is one of only a few veterinarians able to successfully perform the procedure. Test trials with Dual Pep in 2008 resulted in a dramatic increase in pregnancy rate.

“Typically, a stallion has a per-cycle pregnancy rate in the 60 percent range,” said Dr. Varner. “Dual Pep looks like he’s sitting at about 75 percent per cycle rate. That’s an outstanding number, even for a young horse.”

Texas A&M will provide the procedure for breeding to Storm Cat in 2009 through semen offered by Overbrook Farm in Lexington, KY.

Your First Moon, by First Down Dash, out of the Beduino (TB) daughter Moon Arisen, is owned by her breeder, Vessels Stallion Farm, Bonsall, CA. Her Storm Cat foal will be co-owned by Frank “Scoop” Vessels and singer song-writer Lyle Lovett.