04/24/2007 12:00AM

A son of A.P. Indy coming into peak form


LAS VEGAS - An exceptional racehorse who won the Santa Anita Derby and Belmont Stakes, A.P. Indy was named Horse of the Year and 3-year-old champion after defeating older runners in the Breeders' Cup Classic in 1992. With 11 full crops to race, A.P. Indy is now regarded as one of the world's elite stallions.

A.P. Indy is the sire of 100 stakes winners, and his 2007 stakes winners include the outstanding 3-year-old filly Rags to Riches, as well as A.oP. Arrow, Indian Vale, Autobahn Girl, Saint Anddan, Grat, Boca Grande, and Master Command. A.P. Indy was represented by six stakes winners from his 2003 foal crop, the best of whom was Bernardini, last year's 3-year-old champion colt.

As a rule, Thoroughbreds do not reach their peak until age 4, so one can only wonder what A.P. Indy would have accomplished as an older runner. Many of his offspring are late-maturing types who appreciate stretching out in distance, and the best examples of his horses who developed into major stakes winners as older runners were Mineshaft (Horse of the Year in 2003), Golden Missile (who won the Pimlico Special and Stephen Foster Handicap), Aptitude (who captured the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Hollywood Gold Cup), and this year, Master Command.

Master Command showed potential last year at 3, winning the Meadowlands Breeders' Cup Stakes and William D. Schaefer Handicap and finishing third in the Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap. But this year, Master Command has won all three of his starts - the New Orleans Handicap, Mineshaft Handicap, and the National Jockey Club Handicap - and has turned into one of the best older runners, a group led by last year's Horse of the Year, Invasor, and that includes Discreet Cat, Lava Man, Corinthian, Lawyer Ron, Magna Graduate, and Sweetnorthernsaint.

In his most recent effort, Master Command toyed with the talented Sweetnorthernsaint to win the National Jockey Club Handicap as he pleased, suggesting Master Command is ready to tackle the heavy hitters of the handicap division.

All runners by A.P. Indy are out of impeccably bred mares, and Master Command is no exception, as his tail-female line is one of the most successful branches descending from the legendary La Troienne.

Master Command's dam, Lady Lochinvar (by Lord at War), is a full sister to Grade 1 winner La Gueriere (dam of stakes winner, Lasting Approval) and Lord of Warriors, and a half-sister to stakes winners Al Mamoon, Born Wild, and Lost Soldier. His second dam, Lady Winborne (Secretariat), was a half-sister to Allez France, generally regarded as Europe's greatest filly.

Master Command's third dam, Priceless Gem, was a sensational juvenile filly, winning the 1965 Frizette Stakes and defeating males, including champion Buckpasser, in the Futurity Stakes. Priceless Gem was a full sister to Admiring, the dam of 1993 Broodmare of the Year Glowing Tribute - the dam of a Kentucky Derby winner, Sea Hero, and stakes winners Wild Applause, Hero's Honor, Glowing Honor, Coronation Cup, Mackie, and Seattle Glow. Priceless Gem was also a half-sister to Affectionately, a champion filly at 2 and champion sprinter and older mare at age 5.

When his racing days are over, Master Command will likely join an impressive list of young sons of A.P. Indy who have been successful sires, including Pulpit, Stephen Got Even, Aptitude, Malibu Moon, Golden Missile, Jump Start, and the late Old Trieste. Other promising sons of A.P. Indy whose first crops have yet to race are Mineshaft, Bernardini, Alumni Hall, Congrats, Flatter, A. P. Warrior, Dance With Ravens, Friends Lake, Mingun, Olmodavor, Rock Slide, Shaniko, and Suave.

Intriguing Withers matchup

Street Magician, who has won 2 of 3 starts, will try to win his second stakes in a row in Saturday's Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. He captured the Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream in his last start.

Street Magician is from the impressive first crop of Street Cry, which also includes last year's 2-year-old champion, Street Sense, as well as stakes winners Street Sounds and Summer Doldrums. Street Magician will face the Nick Zito-trained C P West, who showed plenty of talent when he finished second in the Futurity Stakes behind King of the Roxy last year after winning just a maiden race.

C P West got off to a late start this year, and the Withers could be his coming-out party. By the young stallion Came Home, C P West is out of the Dynaformer mare Queen's Legend, and the most intriguing aspect of his pedigree is his fourth dam, Asaider, who is very closely related to the 1967 Horse of the Year, Damascus.

Damascus was by Sword Dancer and out of Kerala, while Asaider was by Sword Dancer and out of Kerala's daughter Aunt Tilt (Tulyar).

While he has shown ability on dirt, C P West could be even more effective on turf, as indicated by his pedigree, with hidden turf influence on top and established turf influence on the bottom. By a hidden-turf sire, Came Home (a son of strong grass influence Gone West), C P West is out of a mare by Dynaformer, and his second dam is by the 1969 grass champion, Hawaii.

Other probables for the Withers are Blue Bullet, Brisco N Logan, Elusive Warning, and Frosty Secret.

Elusive Warning, who inherits speed from his sire, damsire, and second damsire, is well-suited to the one-mile Withers. By Elusive Quality, he is out of a Valid Appeal mare, and his second dam is a full sister to 2-year-old champion Gilded Time, by Timeless Moment.

Blue Bullet is from the first crop of the 2000 Preakness winner, Red Bullet. He has won 2 of 3 starts, and is a half-brother to the freakishly fast stakes sprinter Kelly Kip.

Frosty Secret and Brisco N Logan are bred to be most effective as sprinter-milers. Frosty Secret is by Put It Back, a son of Honour and Glory who is off to a good start at stud. Put It Back's best runner is Smokey Stover, acknowledged as this year's top sprinter thus far. Brisco N Logan is by a speed influence, Officer, whose first crop also includes Officer Rocket and Les Grand Trois.