The following post appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.
Both at the sales and on the racetrack, the breed is crying out for the influence of A.P. Indy. This is not so simply because the 1992 Horse of the Year has been a greatly successful and influential stallion. That he has.
But furthermore, his sons and daughters have become some of the most treasured members of the best international breeding operations, and some of A.P. Indy’s second-generation descendants like Tapit have ascended to the highest levels of demand in the commercial arena.
At the opening session of the Keeneland January sale on Monday, the Tabasco Cat mare Spice Island, in foal to Tapit (by Pulpit), sold for $775,000, and the mare is already the dam of Grade 1 winner Ice Box, a son of Pulpit who has retired to stand at Calumet Farm for the 2012 breeding season.
And rather than being led by commercial fashion, the demand for the A.P. Indy line at the sales is fueled by their success and increasing dominance on the racetrack.
This weekend, for instance, the grand old man’s daughter Captivating Lass won the Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct, and his son Stephanoatsee was second in the Count Fleet. The winner of the Count Fleet was Alpha, by the A.P. Indy stallion Bernardini.
At Gulfstream Park, the A.P. Indy stallion who marked his sire as a rising force in breeding, Pulpit, had the winner of the Marshua’s River, Heavenly Landing, and Pulpit is also the sire of Longview Drive, who ran third in the Sham at Santa Anita on Saturday. The Tapit filly Tapitsfly ran third in the Marshua’s River.
The reasons for the expanding ascendency of A.P. Indy are complex, but some of the hallmarks of the line are an enthusiasm for racing, a refreshing combination of speed and stamina, and the potential to race at the very highest class.
A.P. Indy has sired occasional very fast horses who won at sprint distances, such as G1 Hopeful Stakes winner Majestic Warrior, G2 sprint stakes winner A.P. Assay, and Churchill Downs Stakes winner Saint Anddan, who was one of the leading freshmen sires in 2011.
But the reality is that nearly all high-class horses are fast, and the best of the A.P. Indys tend to show their form going two turns because the greater prestige and prizes are available in those races. So we mostly associate the progeny of A.P. Indy with the classic distances, and among his best are Preakness winner and champion 3-year-old Bernardini, now an important young sire, and Horse of the Year Mineshaft, who sired one of the best 3-year-old fillies in 2011, It’s Tricky, winner of the G1 Acorn and CCA Oaks.
The accumulating importance of A.P. Indy is shown in the number of his sons who have become important young sires, such as the 2010 leading freshman sire Congrats, who outfinished Bernardini for that honor. And the full brother to Congrats, Flatter, is the sire of G1 winner Flat Out, one of the best older horses in 2011 when he won the Jockey Club Gold Cup and was second in the Whitney and Woodward.
Like the great sire of stallions Northern Dancer, A.P. Indy can get important sons at stud who showed a vast difference in racing results. Some of the successful sons of A.P. Indy were excellent racehorses, like Bernardini, Mineshaft, and Pulpit. Others were talented but less proven, like the stakes-placed Flatter and the twice-raced Malibu Moon.
An enigmatic facet of the A.P. Indys’ dominance is that they generally add finesse to their mates. In addition to speed, to stamina, to gameness, they add that little touch of undescribable excellence that is so much a part of the best racing stock.
So the next time you’re at Lane’s End looking at the new stallions, spare a moment to observe and offer a bow to the big bay horse who has given so much to racing and breeding. He is an honor to the breed.