Sad news shook the racing industry Friday afternoon when it was announced that legendary Lane’s End stallion A.P. Indy had died.
“It is with extreme sadness that we today announce the passing of our beloved A.P. Indy, he was 31 years old,” Lane’s End said in a statement. “A.P. Indy passed away peacefully in his stall at the Lane's End stallion complex, the barn he called home for 27 years. Champion A.P. Indy’s list of accomplishments range far and wide as his legacy continues to be carried through the outstanding performances of his sons and daughters across the globe. He was the most important and popular member of the Lane's End team and we are deeply sorry to all who loved him as much as we did.”
A.P. Indy was the rare horse that did everything right from the time he was born. A half-brother to 1990 Preakness winner Summer Squall, he lit up the Keeneland ring when bringing $2.9 million as a yearling. He went on to win eight of his 11 starts – including the Belmont Stakes after he was forced to scratch from the Kentucky Derby with a foot issue.
Much to the disappointment of his fans, the only thing he couldn’t achieve was that of beating Father Time though many thought he would live forever.
However, the legacy of the aptly named “breed-shaping stallion” is far from over.
The sire of 89 group or graded stakes winners, 156 stakes winners and 240 stakes horses, including multiple champions, if A.P. Indy had stopped there everyone would have been happy. But the heir apparent to his Triple Crown-winning sire Seattle Slew proved to be an overachiever in his stallion career just as he had in all other stages of his life.
Best known as the grandsire of multiple champion sire Tapit, A.P. Indy’s sons and grandsons have sired nearly 1,500 stakes winners and 3,162 stakes horses. The most famous of those is almost certainly two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome though many others have lit up the public’s admiration during their racing careers.
A.P. Indy proved that he wasn’t just a top sire-of-sires, however. His daughters and granddaughters have produced some of the sport’s best with Hall of Famer Royal Delta among the top racemares to run in the U.S. this century.
More than 220 graded stakes winners and 1,000 stakes horses, including classic winners and champions, call A.P. Indy daughters their dam or granddam.
It’s hard to go even a weekend without seeing at least one stakes winner who traces back to A.P. Indy in some way with many of the young up-and-coming sires boasting him in their pedigrees.
However, for those who miss the days of A.P. Indy runners on the track, that legacy lives on as well. Ten-year-old A.P. Indy geldings Timeless Indy and Puget Sound have already registered multiple starts in 2020.
Maiden Winner of the Week: If there’s a hotter stallion in 2020 than Munnings, he’s taken a backseat to the Coolmore America stallion who sired another impressive winner at Gulfstream Park Saturday with Ikeisgreat.
The 3-year-old colt had showed promise in his first two starts but anxiety in the gate kept him from performing his best. Trainer Kelsey Danner had faith Ikeisgreat was sitting on a big race when she shipped him from Tampa Bay Downs. Ikeisgreat broke a step slow but was quickly able to settle to third a few lengths behind a runaway leader. When the field turned for home, Ikeisgreat’s name quickly changed to Ikeisgone as he romped home to an 8-length victory on the muddy track.
“Ike in his first two races had broke poorly,” Danner said. “He would get a bit anxious and then come out a step slow. Yesterday, he put it all together breaking well and finished strong. Ike is large - they weighed the horses in paddock before the race, he was the high weight. The wet track also helped him. The race set up perfectly for him.”
Ikeisgreat gave the trainer her 35th victory and seventh of 2020. Danner, who went out on her own in 2017, reported that Ikeisgreat came out of the race well and plans are pending for his next start.
Stakes of the Week: Five-year-old Jean Elizabeth is the kind of mare everyone wants to own – one who knows how to win often. The Illinois-bred has won 14 of her 20 starts, including a seven-race win streak that dates to late September 2019.
The mare was admittedly helped by a few scratches in this weekend’s Lightning City Stakes at Tampa, but even without her main challengers Jean Elizabeth made it interesting. Heading straight to the lead in the 5-furlong turf stakes, she had to dig in to win the race by a half-length. While the margin itself may not be impressive, Jean Elizabeth became the fastest winner of the Lighting stakes when stopping the clock at :55.09.
“She’s just an amazing horse. She’ll run on broken glass, I guess,” said trainer, co-owner and co-breeder Larry Rivelli. “It’s been a total team effort with her from Day 1, and you just pinch yourself with a horse like this.
The mare pushed her earnings to $607,668 with the victory.
Trainer of the Week: When Keeper Ofthe Stars pulled a 36-1 upset in the Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes Saturday at Santa Anita Park, she helped trainer Jonathan Wong hit a new milestone. Wong, who has 526 victories in his 6 1/2 years of training, has a winning strike rate that most would envy but had only found stakes success twice at the Grade 3 level.
That changed Saturday when Keeper Ofthe Stars, who gave him his first graded stakes victory last year, upset the previously undefeated Jolie Olimpica by a half.
“When Tom and Debi (Stull) from Tommy Town Thoroughbreds gave her to me, it felt like the best horse we have ever had,” said Wong after the race. “We thought she would come from off the pace. She is better when she has something to chase and when she on the outside and clear, because she has such a long stride (and) it takes her a while to get going.”
Keeper Ofthe Stars topped off a strong showing for the trainer with a career 61 percent on-the-board finish rate over the weekend.
Four of Wong’s 12 starters over a three-day stretch won and five others hit the board. In what has been a banner weekend for the trainer, Dynasty Of Her Own ended his Sunday entries with a third in the Island Fashion Stakes at Sunland Park.
Jump Horse of the Week: William Henry shocked everyone Sunday in the Grade 2 Stella Artois National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell when he won by 1 1/2 lengths after looking to have no chance only a few furlongs from the finish.
The gelding was among the leaders early on but seemed to spit the bit as the field made its way to the final few hurdles and was last after they jumped the third from home. In a surprising twist, he found a second wind over the last and ran on strongly to make up over half a dozen lengths and win the race.
It was the second graded stakes victory for William Henry, whose first was a win against fan favorite Wicklow Brave in the 2019 Grade 3 Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.
Future Jumps Star Of The Week: Saturday’s Grade 2 winner Solo takes this honor after romping home by 13 lengths in his first British race. A 15-length winner in November at Auteuil in France, the colt showed obvious talent and continued it after his journey across the Channel.
Exciting for jumps breeders is that Solo is still intact but he still has a lot to prove before a potential tilt in the breeding shed if he isn’t gelded – something that is questionable with his connections eying his future as a chaser.
Cheltenham remains on everyone’s mind these days so it’s no surprise that Solo has people dreaming of the Triumph Hurdle.
Honorable mention goes to Beacon Edge. The 6-year-old Noel Meade-trainee has won two of his five and looked to be on his way to a first Grade 2 win at Navan Sunday. However, when blundering over the last, he left himself too much to do and lost by just a nose to Jason The Militant. Lightly raced, Beacon Edge looks like one to watch when he gets more experience under his belt.