Photo: Lane's End
As a son of the top sire, and 1977 Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew, and out of the excellent broodmare, Weekend Surprise, herself a daughter of a Triple Crown winner, Secretariat, hopes were high that A.P Indy would be something special. A $2.9 million yearling purchase, just months after his half-brother, Summer Squall won the Preakness, by Tomonori Tsurumaki, the handsome colt began to develop for his patient trainer, Neil Drysdale, late in his juvenile season.
After an uninspired debut at Del Mar, in which he finished 4th in a six-furlong sprint, A.P. Indy began to make good on his substantial price tag. Briefly blocked in his second career race, the muscular dark bay came storming home to break his maiden going away at Santa Anita. A quick trip up the coast saw him show more speed and dominate a Bay Meadows allowance race at a flat mile. Now 2-for-3 lifetime, Drysdale reckoned it was time to let his talented colt get a sniff of high society. That initial stakes try would come December 22, 1991 in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity.
Despite his inexperience against stakes company, A.P. Indy was sent off at 3-1 in the large 14-horse field, which was just a shade above the race favorite, Dance Floor. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, the son of Star de Naskra already had a few stakes wins in Kentucky to his credit. Both of the favorites stayed within striking distance through early fractions, with Dance Floor closer on the inside, and the impressive looking A.P. Indy, a little farther back on the outside. As the field came spinning out of the far turn, the rail opened up nicely for the favorite, while Eddie Delahoussaye and the rallying A.P Indy had to go a little wide for clear sailing.
The pair quickly spurted clear from the twelve others and an excellent stretch battle ensued. A.P. Indy, running with his soon to be well known style of having his head low to the ground, methodically and professionally wore down his white-bridled competition, and earned a hard fought neck victory. Few who saw the ‘91 Hollywood Futurity doubted that a star had been born that afternoon.
The rest, as they say, is history. As a three-year-old in California, A.P. Indy won the San Rafael Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby in his first two starts. Unfortunately, he was a late scratch from the Kentucky Derby due to a foot bruise. He came back a few weeks later in New York to score impressive victories in the Peter Pan and the Belmont Stakes to raise his winning streak to seven. His star dropped just a bit after losses in the Molson Million and the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but Drysdale had him ready for his final test, and an impressive victory over the best older horses in the Breeders' Cup Classic confirmed his excellence.
A.P. Indy would be named Three-year-old Champion and Horse of the Year, and eight years later, he would be ushered into Racing’s Hall of Fame. Of course, the story did not end there for the son of Seattle Slew.
After being retired to stud, A.P. Indy went on to become one of the most influential sires of the last quarter century. Before being pensioned in 2011, he sired more than 135 stakes winners, and his sons and daughters continue to win stakes in 2013. Among his top offspring include champions, Mineshaft, Bernardini, and Rags to Riches. He is currently represented by the early Kentucky Derby favorite, Honor Code. A.P. Indy also is making a big name for himself as a sire of sires. Among his first generation and second generation progeny to become successful sires themselves include: Malibu Moon, Mineshaft, Pulpit, Bernardini, Sky Mesa, Majestic Warrior, and Tapit.
A.P. Indy was that rare high priced yearling that actually was worth his purchase price. As a runner, and then as a stallion, he was worth it, and much, much more. So when you are watching the final CashCall Futurity (formerly known as the Hollywood Futurity) this Saturday at Hollywood Park, take a moment to remember the great horse who made his stakes debut in this race 22 years before.