03/27/2008 11:00PM

A classic line has another standout


LEXINGTON, Ky. - With Adriano's victory in Turfway's prep for the Kentucky Derby, the Lane's End, A.P. Indy has sired yet another prospect for the classics. The most dependable American classic sire, A.P. Indy (now standing at Lane's End in Versailles, Ky.) won the Belmont himself, and this bay son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew has sired a Belmont winner, Rags to Riches, and a Preakness winner, Bernardini.

In addition to the success of his own sons and daughters in classics and classic preps, A.P. Indy's sons Pulpit (fourth in the 1997 Kentucky Derby) and Mineshaft (the 2003 Horse of the Year) have sired winners of major classic prep races this year.

Pulpit's son Pyro is undefeated this year and was generally considered the second-best juvenile to champion War Pass last season.

Following his impressive performances at the Fair Grounds in the Risen Star Stakes and Louisiana Derby, Pyro is the top-ranked prospect on Daily Racing Form's Derby Watch and is the shortest-priced individual runner in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

Also highly ranked on Derby Watch is Cool Coal Man, the Mineshaft colt who won the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream and has shown marked improvement with more maturity and the opportunity to race longer distances.

Both Mineshaft and Pulpit are out of mares by the great sire Mr. Prospector, and that is the most desired cross for matings with A.P. Indy. At least 16 stakes winners by A.P. Indy are out of Mr. Prospector mares, with another 40 of the stallion's 111 stakes winners coming from mares by Mr. Prospector's sons or grandsons.

The success of this cross has been evident from A.P. Indy's smashing first crop of runners, which included Pulpit and Grade 1 stakes winner Tomisue's Indy, both out of Mr. Prospector mares.

As this mating pattern has continued to succeed, every breeder with a really good Mr. Prospector mare has wanted to send her to A.P. Indy.

Using that pattern is how Donald Adam of Courtlandt Farm bred Adriano, who is out of the Mr. Prospector mare Gold Canyon. The 12-year-old Gold Canyon was a winner on the racetrack and is out of Grade 1 winner Golden Treat, a chestnut daughter of the important sire Theatrical.

In addition to winning the Santa Anita Oaks early in her 3-year-old season, Golden Treat had sold for $350,000 as a Keeneland July yearling. She was a very nice young prospect and also is a half-sister to Belmont Stakes winner Bet Twice, who was a major stakes winner at 2, 3, and 4, while accumulating earnings of more than $3.3 million.

This family traces back to Nellie Flag, who founded one of the best Calumet Farm families.

Nellie Flag's descendant Adriano is the third foal out of Gold Canyon. Adam purchased Gold Canyon for $400,000 at the 1997 Keeneland July yearling sale, and the mare has essentially been reserved for mating with A.P. Indy since her retirement.

Gold Canyon's first foal is a winning full sister to Adriano named Moravia, and the mare's second foal is an unnamed 4-year-old by El Prado.

Gold Canyon, a 12-year-old chestnut, has a juvenile filly named Gold d'Oro by freshman sire Medaglia d'Oro and a yearling full sister to Adriano. For 2008, Gold Canyon is in foal to A.P. Indy with another full sibling to Adriano.

As the result of his performance and pedigree, Adriano will attract attention as a stallion prospect. In addition to the continuing success of Pulpit as one of the best young stallions in the country, A.P. Indy has Malibu Moon and Stephen Got Even, who respectively sired champions Declan's Moon and Stevie Wonderboy. Another son of A.P. Indy, Friends Lake, has generated quite a buzz with the performances of his first crop of 2-year-olds at the in-training sales over the past couple of months, and new A.P. Indy stallions such as Master Command in Kentucky and Saint Anddan in Florida are covering their first mares this year.

But a colt like Adriano, following in the path of Pulpit and Mineshaft, will attract even more attention because he is out of a Mr. Prospector mare.

But in part because of the success of A.P. Indy with such mares, there is a question about what lines should be bred to the offspring of A.P. Indy and his famed Mr. Prospector mates. Since most breeders shy away from close inbreeding, most of the Raise a Native and Mr. Prospector male lines are off limits.

To further complicate this pleasant puzzle, A.P. Indy himself is out of Secretariat mare, like other leading sires Gone West and Storm Cat. That trio makes for the most successful sires of stallions in America. Therefore, if a breeder with a mare bred on this cross is looking for a stallion, he typically needs to find an outcross for these immediate influences, such as Holy Bull or Cozzene.

The situation most similar to this, with top-class sires sharing the same broodmare sire, was Bold Ruler and Native Dancer, both out of mares by Discovery. But the gene pool of the 1950s and 1960s was rather more diverse than today's seems.

The most likely result of this situation is that breeders will begin to double or even triple up on Secretariat in their pedigrees, as well as adding multiples of Raise a Native and Northern Dancer, who are a son and a grandson of Native Dancer.