08/22/2013 4:08PM

Hot Sire: A.P. Indy


A.P. Indy

By the time A.P. Indy was retired from racing in the fall of 1992, the soon-to-be-named Horse of the Year had ascended to heights reached by few racehorses to become one of his era’s defining athletes.

His performances on the track, winning the Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic in his sophomore season en route to almost $3 million in earnings, augured well for his success as a stallion, particularly given his strong pedigree, and once settled in at Will Farish’s Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky., A.P. Indy built a second career as a sire that would eclipse his racing résumé.

The ensuing 19 breeding seasons would produce 18 crops replete with high achievers by A.P. Indy, including a handful who are positioned to ensure that his bloodline is carried into the future. Pensioned in 2011, the 24-year-old son of Seattle Slew is living out his remaining years as a member of a select group of 20th-century horses born in 1975 or later – including Danzig, Sadler’s Wells, Danehill, Storm Cat, and Sunday Silence – who have been breed-shaping sires.

More than anything else, A.P. Indy crafted a legacy as a sire of stamina, a quality that may run counter to contemporary trends in the commercial marketplace, but his progeny are highly prized by owners and breeders seeking racehorses who can compete and excel in top races at classic distances.

The champion’s influence has been particularly evident this year in the 3-year-old division. Princess of Sylmar’s Aug. 17 conquest of the 1 1/4-mile Alabama Stakes at Saratoga would appear to ensure her being voted the Eclipse Award winner as top 3-year-old filly. Princess of Sylmar, by A.P. Indy’s son Majestic Warrior, earned her third consecutive Grade 1 win, getting the 10 furlongs with ease in a 2 1/2-length triumph.

The next two fillies to cross the finish in the Alabama also have close connections to A.P. Indy. Runner-up and Grade 2 winner Fiftyshadesofhay is by perhaps A.P. Indy’s best son at stud, Claiborne’s late Pulpit, while third-place finisher Carnival Court is out of a daughter of A.P. Indy.

Carnival Court, a late-developing Street Sense filly owned by Darley Stable, did not win her maiden until this past May. She has a solid chance to become another one of A.P. Indy’s stakes-winning successes as a broodmare sire, as she is out of multiple Grade 3 winner Delta Princess. That mare is responsible for dual champion and current older-female divisional leader Royal Delta, by Empire Maker. Delta Princess was bought by Frank Stronach for $2.6 million at the Keeneland November breeding-stock sale in 2011.

A.P. Indy’s productivity as a broodmare sire is a legacy unto itself. His daughters have produced such accomplished runners as champion Wait a While and multiple Grade 1 winner and $4.2 million Keeneland broodmare prospect Plum Pretty, along with current stars Optimizer and Centre Court. Moreover, he is the broodmare sire of a host of young stallions who were graded stakes winners, including Bluegrass Cat, High Cotton, Any Given Saturday, and Super Saver.

One of this year’s top performers on the Triple Crown trail, Louisiana Derby winner and Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Revolutionary, is out of A.P. Indy’s daughter Runup the Colors, who captured the 1997 Alabama. Runup the Colors is from a fine female family that includes another of A.P. Indy’s top daughters, Tomisue’s Delight (the dam of Grade 1 winner and young sire Mr. Sidney), and one of his very best sons, 2003 Horse of the Year and prominent Lane’s End sire Mineshaft. Revolutionary’s and Royal Delta’s achievements put A.P. Indy in third on the 2013 broodmare sire list as of Aug. 18.

Add Princess of Sylmar’s Alabama victory to previous wins in the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks and Coaching Club American Oaks, and the Pennsylvania-bred filly is the clear standout among her peers heading into the fall. Owner and breeder Ed Stanco did not nominate his charge to the Breeders’ Cup, and there is a chance that she will not race again this year. Her exploits have boosted the profile of Ashford Stud’s young stallion Majestic Warrior, who ranks second in earnings among North American second-crop sires.

Majestic Warrior represents the younger generational faction of A.P. Indy’s sons at stud, along with the current top-priced stallion in North America, Darley’s champion Bernardini. Pulpit, the sire of the second-highest-priced stallion, Tapit, held up the veteran brigade along with Mineshaft and fellow Lane’s End resident Stephen Got Even until his untimely death in December at age 18.

Spendthrift’s Malibu Moon also is among the latter group, and over the past several years, the 16-year-old has become a superlative sire of racehorses. Malibu Moon became a classic-winning sire when his son Orb won the Kentucky Derby, offering further evidence of A.P. Indy’s ability to pass on his stamina through subsequent generations.

Orb’s and Princess of Sylmar’s achievements, as well as Royal Delta’s ongoing brilliance, are the latest testaments to A.P. Indy’s impact on the Thoroughbred racehorse. His last yearlings sold in 2012 at the Keeneland September sale, and recent stars Take Charge Indy (now retired) and Dreaming of Julia are likely some of the last of his top performers we will see on the track. Still, the pensioner has already secured a spot alongside Mr. Prospector and the aforementioned elites as a sire whose genetic influence will reverberate through successive generations for years to come.