May 28, 2020

Hall of Famer, influential sire A.P. Indy dies

AP Indy with his groom Asa Haley
A.P. Indy with his longtime groom Asa Haley at Lane's End (Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)

The racing world lost a true great on Friday with the passing of Hall of Famer A.P. Indy at the place he called home for most of his 31 years – Lane’s End.

Living up to his exquisite pedigree both on the racetrack and at stud, the son of Seattle Slew and the Secretariat mare Weekend Surprise has created indelible memories for fans and an enduring legacy for the global bloodstock industry.

A.P. Indy was bred by Lane’s End impresario Will Farish and W.S. Kilroy. Just a couple of months after his half-brother Summer Squall (by Storm Bird) captured the Preakness (G1), the handsome dark bay topped the Keeneland July Sale – and the 1990 yearling market – when commanding $2.9 million.

New owner Tomonori Tsurumaki sent the blueblood to Hall of Fame horseman Neil Drysdale. Brought along with his trainer’s trademark patience, A.P. Indy broke his maiden second time out as a juvenile at Santa Anita, and graduated from a Bay Meadows allowance, before taking his first stakes test. He passed it, as he would pass so many others, in the 1991 Hollywood Futurity (G1).

A.P. Indy added the San Rafael (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1) in the spring of 1992, increasing hopes that he could follow his sire and broodmare sire in classic glory. His Kentucky Derby (G1) ambitions were dashed by a quarter crack that forced his scratch on the morning of the race, but he regrouped to take the Peter Pan (G2).

Finally getting his chance in the Triple Crown’s third jewel, A.P. Indy prevailed in the Belmont (G1) in a brisk 2:26.13. Aside from Secretariat’s other-worldly 2:24 in the 1973 Belmont, only Easy Goer had clocked 2:26 flat (in the pre-digital timing era) in the 1 1/2-mile classic.

After a subpar fifth in the Molson Million (G2) and a third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), where he tore his foot with a stumbling start, A.P. Indy sought to go out on a high note in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). And so he did, with his Hall of Fame pilot Eddie Delahoussaye steering him to perfection at Gulfstream Park to clinch Horse of the Year honors. A.P. Indy, favored in all but two starts, retired with a record of 11-8-0-1, $2,979,815.

Farish and Kilroy, along with Harold Goodman, by that time had acquired an interest in the colt who would come full circle by returning to Lane’s End as a stallion. From his Versailles, Kentucky, palace, A.P. Indy has established a dynasty with scions throughout the world, founding not only a potent sire line but exerting no less an influence through his daughters.

A.P. Indy sired another Horse of the Year in Mineshaft as well as classic-winning champions Bernardini and Rags to Riches, who beat Curlin to become the first filly to win the Belmont in more than a century. Honor Code, from his last crop conceived in 2010, might have joined them if not being sidelined during his classic campaign, but he thrived at four to become champion older male. A few others placed in classics, notably Aptitude who placed in both the Derby and Belmont in 2000, and Commissioner who just missed in the 2014 Belmont to A.P. Indy descendant Tonalist. A.P. Indy was also responsible for Eclipse Award winner Tempera and a slew of Canadian champions, among them two-time Sovereign Award winner Marchfield and 2009 Queen’s Plate hero Eye of the Leopard.

His high-class son Pulpit, whose career was cut short after an injury when fourth in the 1997 Kentucky Derby, has become a notable vector via his son, leading sire Tapit. Pulpit’s less accomplished son, Lucky Pulpit, gained fame as the sire of California Chrome. Other A.P. Indy sons, in addition to his champions above, to make an impact as stallions include Malibu Moon, Congrats, Majestic Warrior, Stephen Got Even, Take Charge Indy, and Flatter.

Flatter is the sire of champion West Coast, who now stands at Lane’s End alongside Mineshaft, Honor Code, Pulpit’s son Mr Speaker, and Tapit’s son Tonalist to continue the line. They immortalize his genetic heritage just as the statue of A.P. Indy commemorates his legacy at the Lane’s End stallion barn.

A.P. Indy’s leading daughters on the track include 2000 Kentucky Oaks (G1) star Secret Status, Music Note, Tomisue’s Delight, Love and Pride, Got Lucky, and Little Belle (dam of Grade 1 heroine Dickinson). Indeed, scores of his fillies would go on to produce elite performers, among them Supercharger, dam of 2010 Derby hero Super Saver, and Delta Princess, dam of Hall of Famer Royal Delta.

In celebration of his 30th birthday last March, Lane’s End posted a finely crafted tribute to the “Living Legend.” The introductory paragraphs sum up the character and legacy of A.P. Indy:

From the start, he was the chosen one. The best-looking yearling, the best pedigree. He came from one of the best farms in the Bluegrass and commanded attention at every turn of his young life. He got it.

But A.P. Indy, a product of Lane’s End if there ever was one, would surpass even the loftiest of expectations. The sale topper turned Classic winner, the champion turned breed-shaping sire, A.P. Indy was a horse that defined a generation of Thoroughbreds. He was both the point and the counter-point. In an era where speed and fragility dominated, he was the royally-bred throwback who represented the Classic aspirations of kings and queens, of sheikhs, magnates and hardboots alike. A.P. Indy was racing’s exciting future and glorious past, stood 16 hands high.

1 Comment on Hall of Famer, influential sire A.P. Indy dies

  1. What depressing news – worse than the Derby news that he was scratched due to a quarter crack. I can’t believe it’s been 28 years ago. RIP A.P. Indy. You will forever remain one of the GREATS.

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