If you didn’t catch the May 31st episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumble on HBO last night, you missed one of the entertaining segments of television ever to fill the airways. It seems there is this horse, Storm Cat, proudly owned by Overbrook Farms in the Olympus of thoroughbred racing, Kentucky. When Storm Cat was born, there were great hopes for his racing success as his bloodlines could be traced through many of the greats of racing history including the legendary Secretariat.
Unfortunately, Storm Cat proved to be a mediocre race horse. He won a few, he lost a few more. He made a couple hundred thousand and then was retired to stud. A common story you say? Lucky he is not dog food, you demure? Ah, but this is where the story really begins.
Initially, the asking price for Storm Cat to “cover” (see, I learned some racing terms, educational TV and all that) was $25,000 for the subsequent birth of a live colt. If Storm Cat fathered a live colt by the mare, regardless of whether the colt had 6 legs or 4, the fee was $25,000. There were so few takers, Overbrook Farms dropped the fee. They started asking $20,000 and started having a few takers. I mean, for Heaven’s sake, the gene pool is the thing, right?
Strange things started to happen in the sand and clover of race tracks around the country. The kiddies sired by Storm Cat started winning – and winning big! Generation after generation of Storm Cat’s colts have run roughshod over the horse racing world. To date, according to Real Sports, colts fathered by Storm Cat have won $90 million at the tracks of the world! They should change his name to “Daddy Warbucks!”
Now the fee for having your mare have a date, not with Tad Hamilton, but with Storm Cat is the highest in the horse racing industry – $500,000 per live colt. That’s a 125,000 bucks per hoof – assuming you get a four-legged colt. The closest rival for breeding rights is a sire that can ask for – well his pimp can ask for it – a paltry $200,000 per live colt. While that ain’t hay, no one is in Storm Cat’s stall, playa!
However, the economics, while staggering, was not the entertainment of the segment. Watching the almost religious nature of the equine dating game was where the knee-slapping and horse laughing began. While I won’t go into all of the precautions they go through for the sake of, primarily, the safety of Storm Cat’s money-maker, I will bring an issue to the attention of P.E.T.A. While not generally a sympathizer for the causes championed by this august organization, as an upstanding male, I would certainly be a supporter (pun intended) for this one. It begs for an immediate press release and, at the minimum, a 30 second spot from an outraged Pamela Sue Anderson. Perhaps, due to the issue in hand, Tommy Lee could stand erect for this particular abuse, as well.
Here’s the horror of it all. Once they (the veterinarians and equine Dr. Ruths) have determined that the mare is in estrus and in the mood that day for receiving His Majesty, Storm Cat, they have one additional step that is sometimes required if the mare might be a bit bashful. They bring into the bridal chamber a surrogate stallion. This poor chap apparently has terrible genes but is a sex pistol and “ready” at the swish of a tail. And, soon, we find out why he is constantly ready for romp in the hay. This stud-ette’s unenviable task is to test mount the mare to see if she is the kicking sort. Apparently, if some mares are not entirely satisfied with the prospective suitor (be it the his weight, the way he nibbles her mane, or the barn’s decor) the lady will unceremoniously kick the suitor in a frightful location. A $500,000 per-pop location!
The good folks at Overbrook Farms will not let even the possibility of this happening. They humiliate the would-be-stud by putting an apron around the business area of his anatomy (apparently, they do not make horse-sized condoms, but there begins a whole ‘nother set of jokes) and let the test mounting begin. But, and this is where PETA needs to get involved, once
the mare has proven she’s got that lovin’ feeling that day and at that very minute, they pull Mr. I-Wish-I-Could-Have-Known-You-Better off the mare, lead him out the back door and bring in Mr. Right with his hoity-toity genes. But not before they fit the blushing bride with padded booties for her hind hooves (you can’t make this stuff up, folks) in the off-chance that she whinnies “No.” For mares, just as for humans, no means no, especially when you can so strategically and powerfully kick at such a vulnerable time. Storm Cat does his $500,000 love thing which, as if you were interested, lasts approximately 5-10 seconds.
Now, for PETA, it’s high time the abuse of this pinch-hit (and miss) stud is stopped! When asked during the segment how often this unfortunate stallion actually gets to have actual intercourse with a mare, the Overbrook executive’s reply was a flaccid “Never.” It seems they want to keep him…well…horney. Thus, as soon as he achieves liftoff with the prospective bride, the handlers
pull the horse off – a cruel, forceful form of equine interruptus. That, gentle reader, is just wrong.
There you have it. Far more than you ever wanted to know about breeding in the kingly world of thoroughbred racing and a call to arms for PETA. If this is not cruel and inhumane treatment of animals, I have not seen it. It’s certainly time to get involved. Men of the world, RISE UP!