There is a belief held by many horsemen that a mare produces either on the race track or in the breeding shed, but rarely in both environments. It would, however, appear that South Ocean, a daughter of Canadian Triple Crown winner New Providence, blatantly defied that logic, especially in establishing her prowess as a formidable broodmare. Two of her off springs are multiple stakes winner champion Northernette and Storm Bird, champion European two-year-old and an illustrious stakes producing sire.
Trained by Gordon (Pete) McCann, she was bred by E.P. Taylor and later sold through auction to his son Charles Taylor, who raced her in his silks. South Ocean was a dual stakes winner, capturing the 1969 Yearling Sales Stakes and winning the premier race for fillies in 1970, the Canadian Oaks, defeating future Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Fanfreluche. The McCann trained filly was prominent through her campaign in 1970 as she was stakes placed in the Bison City, Belle Mahone, Maple Leaf and Fairbank Handicap. In 1969 Taylor’s filly was a contender for two-year-old honors. Along with her win in the Yearling Sales she was stakes placed in the prestigious Princess Elizabeth, Natalma, Mazarine and My Dear Stakes. Her two-year career race record showed 22 starts with 17 in the money finishes and earnings of $70,147.
But it was as a producer that she really excelled. South Ocean was by Bull Page’s Queen’s Plate winning son New Providence and was out of a Chop Chop mare Shining Sun. Her genetic magic is still in production as this granddaughter of Bull Page is the dam of Storm Bird, whose son Storm Cat was twice the leading sire in North America. He commanded a record stud fee of $500,000 during the peak of his career and was leading juvenile sire seven times, getting 108 graded stakes winners and eight champions, including Giant’s Causeway.
South Ocean’s breeding matched up perfectly with the Northern Dancer line. Thus she was bred to that prolific sire eight times, producing Northernette, a Canadian champion filly and member of Canada’s Hall of Fame. Four years later South Ocean foaled Storm Bird, a full brother to Northernette. After a brilliant two-year-old racing career in Europe in 1980, Storm Bird went to stud in Kentucky and sired 63 stakes winners. Included was Preakness winner Summer Squall and the aforementioned Storm Cat, leading sire of graded stakes winners in North America in 2005. He was also broodmare sire of more than 100 stakes races.
South Ocean’s impact on both Canadian and world-wide over nearly five decades is immeasurable.
Photo: copyright Michael Burns Photography.