07/31/2017 2:17PM

Grade 1 winner A. P. Indian retired at 7 with ankle injury

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Barbara D. Livingston
A. P. Indian wins the Grade 1 Forego last summer.

A. P. Indian, a multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter, was retired from racing Monday after being withdrawn from Saturday’s Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga due to lameness in his left front ankle.

The 7-year-old Indian Charlie gelding raced as a homebred for Richard and Sue Ann Masson’s Green Lantern Stable and was trained for the bulk of his career by Arnaud Delacour. A. P. Indian retires with 11 wins in 20 career starts for earnings of $1,477,434.

“It was just normal wear and tear,” Richard Masson said. “We were at the point where this ankle had blown up once or twice, and if he’s not at the point where he can compete at the highest level, it made sense to retire him. We probably could have kept going, but not in top company.”

Plans call for A. P. Indian to be turned out for the next 90 days at the Massons’ Green Lantern Farm in Lexington, Ky., then return to Delacour for retraining as a stable pony.

“They’re going to take him back, maybe when his string goes back to Florida, and if he adapts well to that, great,” Masson said. “They can keep him as long as they want. He’ll always have a home at Green Lantern Farm when that’s done. We have a couple of older horses on our farm, including Karelian and [A. P. Indian’s] brother Ender’s Universe, so he can come and join his gelding friends on the farm.”

A. P. Indian won his first and only start at age 2, demolishing a Delaware Park maiden special weight field by six lengths. He came off a layoff of nearly a year to win his 3-year-old debut at Churchill Downs and finished second in his next three starts before taking another yearlong break.

The gelding returned at age 5 and moved to Delacour’s shed row. Under the new trainer, A. P. Indian won the Decathlon Stakes at Monmouth Park and the Donald LeVine Memorial Handicap at Parx Racing.

A. P. Indian earned repeat victories in those two races to kick off his 2016 campaign and carried a six-race winning streak into last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, including the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Grade 1 Forego Stakes, Grade 2 Phoenix Stakes, and Grade 3 Belmont Sprint Championship. He finished the season with a third at the Breeders’ Cup and was a finalist for the Eclipse Award as champion male sprinter.

His 2017 season was cut short after running second in both the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes and Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap.

“He was a terrific horse and made a good example of when patience will be rewarded in the long run by doing the right thing early in a horse’s career so he can keep going until he’s 5, 6, and 7,” Masson said.