Twice a US champion stallion and a massive influence on the international thoroughbred stud book, A.P. Indy was born a ridgling – what is usually referred to in South Africa as a “rig”.
One of his testicles was undescended, or stuck in his abdomen, causing him discomfort when galloping. Usually, horses with this condition are gelded post haste, but because of A.P. Indy’s breeding potential it was decided to remove just the problem ball.
It was a fateful decision as few, if any, racehorses have achieved what this fellow did.
Very expensive yearlings have a spotty record, relatively few gaining stardom on the racecourse. A.P. Indy was an exception, topping prices of the 1990 yearling sales before going on to win the fabled Belmont Stakes and the Breeder’s Cup Classic on his way to being named US Horse of the Year in 1992.
His time in the Belmont Stakes equalled that of Easy Goer for the second-fastest running in the history of the race, behind his broodmare sire Secretariat.
Dodgy testicle aside, he was a perfect specimen of a racehorse and passed his superior genes on to his descendants, to be seen at stud farms around the world.
Top sire Judpot represents A.P. Indy in South Africa – along with his other sons Marchfield and Just As Well. Deceased stallions A P Answer and Camden Park were also the fruit of his singular loin.
Camden Park fathered the hugely successful Jay Peg, who carried South Africa to glory in Dubai and Singapore.
A.P. Indy spent most of his life at Lane’s End stud farm in Kentucky. He was born there, bred by William S Farish III and William Kilroy, and was by Seattle Slew out of the Secretariat mare Weekend Surprise.
He was sold at Keeneland for $2.9 million to flamboyant Japanese investment banker Tomonori Tsurumaki, who named the colt to market his recently opened Nippon Autopolis, where he hoped to host Formula 1 and Indy Car events.
Around this time, Tsurumaki also bought a Pablo Picasso painting for $51 million – from a French auction while on the phone from a Tokyo hotel room – simply to get his name to the fore and publicise his motor racing venture.
The Autopolis was a giant flop as its remote location on the Japanese island of Kyushu made it inaccessible to modern racing teams.
A.P. Indy defied the ill fortune the dogged Tsurumaki’s plans.
Trained by Neil Drysdale, the dark bay with a white blaze notched five consecutive victories before arriving at the 1992 Kentucky Derby as second favourite. However, on the eve of the famous race, he was found to have a cracked hoof and a bruised heel and was scratched. He also missed the second Triple Crown leg, the Preakness Stakes, but had recovered in time for the third, the Belmont – partly thanks to a rebuilt fibreglass hoof.
A.P. Indy showed his class by rallying from a little way back on the turn to overhaul leader My Memoirs and win by three-quarters of a length. The subsequent Breeder’s Cup victory was by two lengths and it was time for the breeding shed.
“The thing that most struck me about A.P. Indy was that he was fearless,” trainer Neil Drysdale said. “He had no fear of humans or other horses or anything. His legacy as a sire is remarkable. He introduced stamina into the breed.”
Breeders Farish and Kilroy had bought back into the horse and formed a breeding syndicate that would profit enormously from that one cojone.
The first crop produced Grade 1 winner Pulpit, who himself sired current commercial juggernaut stallion Tapit. Multiple Grade 1 winner Tomisue’s Delight also came out of A.P. Indy’s debut class of foals, according to The Paulick Report.
Future crops saw 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini, Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches, champions Tempera and Honor Code, Canadian champions Marchfield and Serenading, and the remarkable Eye of the Leopard.
A.P. Indy’s stud fee rose from $3,000 to $300,000 at his peak.
Paulick reports that A.P. Indy was pensioned from stud duty in 2011 due to declining fertility, but remained in the same stall in the Lane’s End stallion complex for the remainder of his life. His position near the entrance of the stud barn and his fan-friendly personality kept him in the spotlight until he died.
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.
BACK TO CITIZEN
BACK TO PREMIUM
The Citizen. All rights