FollowHorseracing.com The Jockey Club & NTRA Racing Website December 8, 2012
He proved to be one of a very small number of top-priced yearlings to earn more on the racetrack than his purchase price. A big, muscular, and mature colt, A. P. Indy was easy to spot on the track with an unorthodox running style in which he kept his head low, almost like a greyhound, with that distinctive long, rhythmic stride.
A son of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew and dam Weekend Surprise by 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, he was the star attraction at the Keeneland July auction in 1990. Back then A. P. Indy was known as Summer Squall’s younger half-brother by Seattle Slew, who had just won the Preakness after running second to Unbridled in the Kentucky Derby.
That was a huge boost to A.P. Indy’s Keeneland catalog page. Noel O’Callaghan of British Bloodstock Agency Ireland, bidding on behalf of Japanese businessman Tomonori Tsurumaki, outbid trainer D. Wayne Lukas’s client at $2.9 million, the most expensive price of the year in a depressed market.
“We figured we’d have to be brave and bid fast,” said O’Callaghan.
The colt was sent to west coast based trainer Neil Drysdale who conditioned Weekend Surprise. A native of England, Drysdale had served as assistant to the legendary Charlie Whittingham and handled such top horses as Princess Rooney, Tasso, and Forceten en route to a Hall of Fame career.
“He was a strong-willed horse, very strong-willed, and he had his own mind,” Drysdale recalled. “Once he got the hang of things, though, he was exceptional.”
Drysdale didn’t rush the colt who debuted in late August during the Del Mar meeting where he finished fourth. After a pair of subsequent victories Drysdale decided it was time to move up to stakes company and sent A. P. Indy to the Grade-1 Hollywood Futurity on December 22.
Dance Floor, winner of two stakes in Kentucky, went off as the 3-1 favorite among a record 14 horses. Four and five horses wide much of the trip, when A. P. Indy hit the eighth pole it was strictly a two-horse race. With Dance Floor on the rail, A.P. Indy roared down the center of the track taking the Futurity by three quarters of a length.
“His last race, I hit him a few times, and he took it, but he didn’t like it,” ‘jockey Eddie Delahoussaye said. “He's a big, long striding colt. I figured losing a bit of ground would be better than having to stop and start again. I knew I had Dance Floor so there was no point hitting my horse.”
It was the start of a five-race winning streak on the way to the 1992 Kentucky Derby where A. P. Indy was touted as the morning line favorite. He was scratched on Derby morning due to a bruise on his left front hoof during a gallop the day before. Still recovering, the colt skipped the Preakness but returned with a dazzling five length romp in the Peter Pan Stakes (Grade-2) at Belmont Park.
A. P. Indy won the Belmont Stakes, too. The second son of Seattle Slew to wear the white carnations, he proved his mettle winning the classic race by a length and three quarters over the British invader My Memoirs and Preakness Stakes winner Pine Bluff. His time for the mile and a half was 2:26 which equaled the clocking of Easy Goer in 1989. Only Secretariat had gone faster.
Pointed to a fall championship, A. P. Indy ran the worst race of his career, fifth in the Molson Million at Woodbine, where his normally potent stretch kick was missing. He hooked older horses for the first time in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (Grade-1). A. P. Indy stumbled badly coming out of the gate and ripped the shoe off one of his feet. Pinched back 15 lengths from the lead, he circled the field five wide on the final turn but finished third behind Pleasant Tap and 1991 Kentucky Derby winner Strike the Gold.
In his final race A.P. Indy scored the most decisive stakes victory of his career in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Gulfstream Park. He split horses on the far turn and pulled away in the stretch to win by two lengths in 2:00.The victory over Pleasant Tap avenged his Jockey Gold Cup defeat.
A throwback runner, A. P. Indy won at distances ranging from 6 1/2 furlongs to a mile and a half. Over an impressive two-year racing career, A.P. Indy would go to the post eleven times, winning eight and finishing third in one other start. He bankrolled $2,979,815 in purse money. The BC Classic win earned him two Eclipse Awards, one as champion three year old and the other as 1992 Horse of Year. He was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2000.
With his regal bloodlines (going back to Bold Ruler) shaping his near-flawless physical structure, A.P. Indy continued to make his influence felt through his sons and daughters at Lane’s End Farm where he joined his half-brother Summer Squall and former rival Pine Bluff. A. P. Indy started his stud career in 1993 with a $50,000 fee, that season’s highest fee for a first-year stallion and it only went up over the next two decades, peaking at $300,00o.
The 1992 American Horse of the Year has twice been the Leading US Sire (2003 and 2006). A. P. Indy has sired champion fillies and colts, led the sire lists by earnings of his offspring on the racetrack and commercial prices at yearling sales. His most talented offspring include Mineshaft, Bernardini, Pulpit, Rags to Riches, Music Note, Tempera, Festival of Light, Golden Missile, Marchfield, and Malibu Moon.
Sons Bernardini, Malibu Moon, Congrats and Pulpit (who died suddenly on Dec. 6) are all carving out careers producing top runners. A. P. Indy’s legacy could likely equal that of Storm Cat, another of the great recent sires whose dominance lives on through his sons and grandsons.
His influence was felt during at the Keeneland yearling sale last September as two colts out of A.P. Indy mares-- the last that will be offered at sale-- reached among the top prices of the sale. His stud career ended due to infertility. Otherwise in good health, A. P. Indy was pensioned at Lane's End in April 2011.
While there are no perfect thoroughbreds, A. P. Indy comes close. In his 23 years, he has evolved from sale-topping yearling to champion racehorse, to leading commercial stallion and finally, breed-shaping sire of sires.
"A lot of his offspring look a lot like him and he is a very well-made horse, a very sound-made horse," said William S. Farish, owner of Lane’s End. "A lot of stallions nowadays, they get you a lot of brilliance but they don't get you the versatility and the soundness he was able to pass on. I think that's why he had such a larger percentage of good horses.
“I feel blessed to have been the co-breeder, along with my friend Bill Kilroy. A.P. Indy will remain in the stall he has occupied for almost 20 years. It is our fondest wish that he will live a long and happy retirement.”