07/03/2008 11:00PM

Music Note more evidence of A.P. Indy's quality


LEXINGTON, Ky. - What would the classic scene look like without A.P. Indy? Much less competitive and exciting, no doubt.

Over the past decade, A.P. Indy is the sire of last year's Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches, 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini, plus Jilbab (winner of the 2002 Coaching Club American Oaks) and Secret Status (2000 Kentucky Oaks). Then there are such major winners and classic contenders as A.P. Valentine (second 2001 Preakness) and Aptitude (second 2000 Belmont and Kentucky Derby).

Last weekend, A.P. Indy's daughter Music Note won the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont, and she will certainly be the favorite in the CCA Oaks coming up.

Despite the dominance of Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy at siring classic runners, Aptitude is the closest that A.P. Indy has come to the most elusive success on the first Saturday in May.

But several others have tried and shown ability to compete in the run-up to the Kentucky Derby, including Pulpit, Old Trieste, Friends Lake, Stephen Got Even, and this year Adriano.

In fact, considering the overall classic picture in America, A.P. Indy is the most consistent and high-quality source of classic ability available to breeders in the States. That most of the A.P. Indys don't show their best form on turf has caused many of the best to remain here for training and racing, which also helps their sire and makes the competition for the Triple Crown more exciting.

Mineshaft, one of the most prominent sons of A.P. Indy and Horse of the Year in 2003, raced overseas as a young horse but returned to the States to prove himself a champion.

This year, the first foals by Mineshaft turned 3, and he is the sire of both Fountain of Youth winner Cool Coal Man and Peter Pan Stakes winner Casino Drive, who would have been the second-favorite to Big Brown in the Belmont Stakes if a bruised hoof hadn't sent the handsome chestnut back to Japan.

To date, A.P. Indy is the sire of 112 stakes winners. The great majority of those showed their best form going a mile or more, and the hallmarks of the stallion's offspring are the capacity to race a distance well and considerable class. In addition to Music Note and Lane's End Stakes winner Adriano, A.P. Indy also has the 3-year-old Little Belle, winner of the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland.

The ability to race the classic distances and impart quality and class to his offspring makes A.P. Indy a most desirable sire for top-end international breeders.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, who races Music Note in the name of Godolphin, has had considerable success with the stock of A.P. Indy in the U.S. In addition to Music Note, he has raced Preakness winner Bernardini, CCA Oaks winner Jilbab, and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Tempera.

Music Note is the third generation of her family owned by the Maktoums, and this filly's second dam, It's in the Air, was the first champion by the great sire Mr. Prospector.

Sheikh Maktoum al-Maktoum's Gainsborough Stud purchased It's in the Air at the 1984 Keeneland November sale of breeding stock when the mare was carrying her second foal to a cover by Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew (the sire of A.P. Indy).

Gainsborough's purchase of It's in the Air came near the zenith of the 1980s bloodstock boom, and as a champion and a young mare in foal to the most exciting stallion of the time, she brought $4.6 million.

For Gainsborough, It's in the Air produced Group 2 winner Bitooh (the foal she was carrying by Seattle Slew), listed stakes winner Monaassabaat (Zilzal), and group-placed Sous Entendu (Shadeed).

This was a good produce record, although no doubt something less than what was hoped from such an outstanding racemare as It's in the Air. Of the mare's daughters, her winning offspring by Shareef Dancer, Try to Catch Me, produced Storming Home, winner of the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket and the Grade 1 Charlie Whittingham Memorial at Hollywood Park. Sous Entendu produced three stakes winners, including Slip Stream (Irish River), who won a Group 2 stakes in Germany and ran second in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat in France.

But the best of the lot has been the unraced Sadler's Wells mare Note Musicale. Foaled in England, Note Musicale produced the 2003 French 1000 Guineas winner Musical Chimes (In Excess), who the next year won the Grade 1 John C. Mabee Handicap in California. Musical Chimes is in foal to Bernardini for 2009.

Musical Chimes was the first foal of her dam, and Music Note is the mare's fifth foal.

In the name of Gainsborough, Sheikh Maktoum bred Music Note and all her foals. After his death in 2006, his Gainsborough operation and breeding stock were folded into his brother Sheikh Mohammed's Darley, and Music Note came to the races under the banner of Godolphin.

Note Musicale died in April 2006, and her last foal, an unraced 2-year-old colt named National Theatre (Rahy), is in training in England.