01/16/2016 7:03PM

Leading Kentucky sires: A.P. Indy


◗ Leading Kentucky broodmare sire by earnings

Twenty-three years ago, A.P. Indy entered stud at Lane’s End in Kentucky with high expectations. And why not? He was gorgeous, fast, and impeccably bred. The son of Seattle Slew out of Weekend Surprise, by Secretariat, did not disappoint. His first crop, 47 foals of 1994, featured 13 stakes winners and two stakes-placed runners – a whopping 38 percent of starters – including future top sire Pulpit and a trio of Grade 1-winning fillies in Tomisue’s Delight, Royal Indy, and Runup the Colors, the latter boding well for his future as a broodmare sire.

Scroll ahead two-plus decades. A.P. Indy was pensioned from breeding in 2011, after racking up two leading sire titles and overall stats at least as impressive as those of his own legendary sire. He had established himself not only as a spectacular progenitor of racehorses (163 stakes winners – 17 percent of career starters to date), but, more importantly, as a stallion whose imprint on the American Thoroughbred gene pool would successfully span the generations ahead. Sons such as Pulpit, Bernardini, Malibu Moon, Flatter, Congrats, Mineshaft, Majestic Warrior, and Jump Start, paternal grandsons Tapit, Sky Mesa, and Lucky Pulpit (sire of 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome), and rising stars named Girolamo, Wilburn, Friesan Fire, and Discreetly Mine are ensuring that his name won’t soon disappear from the top stirp of sought-after American pedigrees. In 2015, male-line descendants of A.P. Indy occupied five of the 25 leading spots on the general sire list, including Tapit in the No. 1 position.

After twice reigning as America’s premier sire, in 2003 and 2006, A.P. Indy now finds himself atop the broodmare sire standings for the first time – after knocking loudly on the door with second-place rankings behind the late king of stallions Storm Cat in 2013 and 2014. He finally deposed that three-time category leader last season when his daughters produced 29 stakes winners and the earners of nearly $17 million. Those numbers placed the 1992 Horse of the Year safely ahead of second-ranked Unbridled’s Song, with Storm Cat slipping to third.

Whereas Unbridled’s Song and Storm Cat each had a home-run horse among their maternal grand-offspring of 2015 (Carpe Diem and Honor Code, respectively), curiously, A.P. Indy did not. His black-type winners as a broodmare sire did not include a single North American Grade 1 victor, though lifetime to date his daughters have been responsible for 13 such top-flight runners – among them champion fillies Royal Delta and Wait a While, and Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver. His highest profile performer was Ghostzapper’s track-record-breaking millionaire son Moreno, winner of the Charles Town Classic. A.P. Indy’s mares also sent out 2015 Grade 2 winners Ironicus, Tiz Shea D, Protonico, and Dramedy; Grade 3 victors Imagining and Far From Over; and Irish Group 3 winner Moviesta. His 29 stakes-winning maternal grandsons and granddaughters placed him second internationally in that numerical category behind only deceased Danehill, with 31.

As with almost any great progenitor, A.P. Indy has crossed efficiently with a variety of bloodlines, though he seems to favor some over others. In 2015 his broodmares produced four stakes winners by 2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow – runners who thus carried a 4x3 cross to Seattle Slew. Best of those was Grade 2 Indiana Derby winner Tiz Shea D. A.P. Indy mares have also proven good crosses for Distorted Humor and Hard Spun, getting three 2015 black-type winners by each stallion.

With his 18th and final crop foals of 2011 – stellar to the end with Grade 1 winners Honor Code and Got Lucky – A.P. Indy figures to play a prominent role on sire and broodmare sire lists through the foreseeable future.

The now-retired Lane’s End patriarch is without question one of a handful of the most breed-shaping American sires of the modern era (think: Storm Cat, Mr. Prospector, Seattle Slew, Danzig, Unbridled). Like his sire before him, he has displayed profound top-to-bottom genetic potency, and his breeding sons and daughters are proving superb producers. While he is largely responsible for keeping the once-predominant Bold Ruler male line alive into the 21st century, his daughters are crossing spectacularly with everything put to them. Perhaps most notably, A.P. Indy has reinfused the golden virtue of stamina into an American breed desperately in need of it.