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Indian Firewater getting better with age

Since retiring to stud in 1999 at a fee of $10,000, Indian Charlie   has made an inexorable rise to the upper reaches of the U.S. stallion population. Until recently, the milestones on this march to the top had been marked primarily by the achievements of his distaffers, among them two-time Eclipse Award winner Indian Blessing, champion older mare Fleet Indian, and grade I winner Pampered Princess. (Part of Indian Charlie’s reputation was one of perception; through the end of 2010 the score among his U.S. graded winners was actually six to five in favor of the males.)

However, any lingering thoughts that Indian Charlie might be a “filly sire” should be firmly laid to rest by the events of the last few days. On January 15, 4-year-old male Indian Firewater became the lastest graded winner for his sire with a game tally in the San Fernando Stakes (gr. II), while 3-year-old colt Anthony's Cross, took third in the Sham Stakes (gr. III).  Two afternoons later, the 3-year-old colt Indian Winter–third in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) last term–returned to kick off the new year with a win in the San Pedro Stakes. Later that night, Indian Charlie’s brilliant son Uncle Mo was acknowledged as the year’s best juvenile colt with an Eclipse Award.

Indian Charlie’s career was cut short by injury after he finished third to stable-companion Real Quiet in the 1998 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), his sole defeat in a five-race career that was highlighted by a Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) victory. Although we never saw him in action past the spring of his 3-year-old career, it’s quite possible that Indian Charlie had significant improvement left in him: his sire, In Excess, was at his best at 4, when he was very near the top of his division, and it’s not unknown for his offspring to improve with age.

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