When his breeders followed the old adage “breed the best to the best and hope for the best” in 1988 when deciding who to breed Weekend Surprise to, they probably didn’t expect the resulting foal to accomplish as much as A.P. Indy has.
By 1973 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew and out of a multiple graded stakes winning daughter of 1970 Triple Crown winner Secretariat from a solid family, A.P Indy’s pedigree is as good as it gets.
Sold for $2.9-million as a yearling, it was clear from the start that A.P. Indy was expected to be special. He had a bit of a blip on his debut at the racetrack, finishing fourth but from there he showed the talent expected of him. In his second start, he won by four lengths followed by a three length allowance win before getting his first Grade 1 victory in his first stakes attempt when winning the Hollywood Futurity.
A.P. Indy rolled through the early 1992 Kentucky Derby preps, earning two more graded stakes wins, and looked like he was the horse to beat going into the Kentucky Derby. But luck wasn’t on A.P. Indy’s side in the race and after attempts to treat a quarter crack the night before the Kentucky Derby failed, he was scratched from the race.
“He was too valuable a horse to risk running when he was not quite right. On form, he would have won it quite easily,” trainer Neil Drysdale told Tom Pedulla in a 2014 America’s Best Racing story. “There is not much you can do. You can’t second-guess yourself. As a trainer, you’re trying to solve the problem and move on to the next race.”
A.P. Indy skipped the Preakness as well, ending hopes of a Preakness double for his dam Weekend Surprise as her son Summer Squall had won it in 1990. Instead, Drysdale rerouted to the Peter Pan as a prep race for the Belmont Stakes. The field was no match for A.P. Indy and regular jockey Eddie Delahoussaye with the pair cruising to a 5 ½ length victory.
Next it was off to the Belmont Stakes where A.P. Indy looked to give his dam a second classic win. Sticking close behind the leaders, A.P. Indy entered the stretch in a duel with Preakness winner Pine Bluff. A.P. Indy passed Pine Bluff in the final furlong with My Memoirs close behind, crossing the wire just three-quarters of a length behind A.P. Indy with Pine Blufff in third.
A.P. INDY WINNING THE BELMONT STAKES
Video courtesy of Vintage North American Horse Racing
After the victory, A.P. Indy was given the summer off before returning to the track in a Canadian race. The race didn’t see A.P. Indy at his best against fellow 3-year-olds as he finished fifth. Following that run, A.P. Indy faced older horses for the first time in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Stumbling badly, he finished third in a field that had six Grade 1 winners and one Grade 2 winner from seven starters.
That loss probably helped sway a few bettors from him in the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Classic but he still went off as the favorite in a full field of 14. Winning a 3-year-old classic race is never an easy task but even then, the Breeders’ Cup Classic may go down as A.P. Indy’s crowning moment.
Running in the middle of the main pack, A.P. Indy kicked it into stride around the far turn and took over the lead inside the final furlong. While he had horses chasing him home, no one was able to catch him and he crossed the line two lengths in front. Pleasant Tap and Strike the Gold, who had finished ahead of him in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, were two of 12 Grade or Group 1 winners A.P. Indy beat that day.
A.P. Indy retired in December of 1992 with a stud fee of $50,000 to Lane’s End Farm, where he stood beside his half-brother Summer Squall. Named Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old, it looked like A.P. Indy had reached the top of the sport but his climb wasn’t yet over.
Since his retirement, A.P. Indy has become one of the most influential sires of the last two decades in the United States.
A.P. Indy’s first crop, born in 1994, was a small one with just 47 foals according to Equineline. But of those 47, 40 made it to the track with 80 percent of them winning at least one race and 12 horses winning stakes races. His son Pulpit, perhaps the most important sire to come from the A.P. Indy line, was part of that crop and won two Grade 2 events.
From 1,224 foals born during his career, the now 27-year-old A.P. Indy had 946 starters and 692 winners. From those winners, 22 percent (155 horses) won at least one stakes race with another 84 hitting the board (second or third) in a stakes race, giving their sire $135.5-million in earnings.
Possibly more impressive is that A.P. Indy sired 88 graded stakes winners and 12 champions. Those champions include 2001 champion 2-year-old filly Tempera, 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, 2006 Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini and 2007 Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches.
A.P. Indy was pensioned in 2011 with 36 foals arriving from the final crop conceived in 2010. That crop made sure their sire went out with a bang.
A.P. INDY ENJOYING RETIREMENT
Of the 27 foals from that crop who made it to the track, 19 of them won a combined 51 races as of March 21, 2016. The group has seven stakes winners including last year’s champion older male Honor Code, Grade 1 winner Got Lucky and 2014 Belmont Stakes runner-up and Grade 2 winner Commissioner.
Of A.P. Indy’s 39 Breeders’ Cup starters, two came from his final crop in Got Lucky and Honor Code.
During his breeding career, A.P. Indy had success in the U.S. classics as well with Bernardini and Rags to Riches winning the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, respectively, but A.P. Indy wasn’t able to add a Kentucky Derby win to his resume as a racehorse or sire.
However, his opportunity to add to his impact on the breed is not yet over. Five of the stallions currently on the top 10 of Blood-Horse’s General Sires list at the end of March, 2016 are by either A.P. Indy or his son Pulpit including the record-breaking two-time leading sire Tapit, who is by Pulpit.
A.P. Indy is also the great-grandsire of dual classic winner and Dubai World Cup victor California Chrome who was named 2014 Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old colt, but it isn’t just his sons and grandsons who have produced good horses.
The leading broodmare sire last year and second only to Storm Cat in 2013 and 2014, A.P. Indy’s daughters have produced three-time champion Royal Delta, champion 3-year-old filly Wait a While, Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty among many others.
Overall, A.P. Indy’s daughters have produced nine champion, 68 graded stakes winners, 139 stakes winners and 120 horses who have hit the board in stakes races from 2,009 starters.
Today, A.P. Indy resides in the stall he has been in for many years at Lane’s End Farm with Mineshaft in the stall across the aisle from him and Honor Code in the stall next to him. Every day he gets turned out in the paddock right in front of the stallion complex and gallops a few laps around the field before settling down to graze.
While he’s been retired for five breeding seasons now, Lane’s End has made sure to keep A.P. Indy’s bloodline going in its breeding shed. Of the 16 stallions currently on its roster, six trace back to A.P. Indy including three of the four stallions new to the farm this year.