The oldest Thoroughbred breed-shaping sire is gone.
A.P. Indy passed away peacefully at age 31 at his Lane’s End Farm home in Versailles, KY Feb. 21. Speaking for the Farm, Bill Farish said there was no specific illness leading to the horse’s passing, “just the infirmities of old age. Everyone on the farm is leaning on one another on this difficult Friday.”
Farish’s father, William S. Farish bred the 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy with William S. Kilroy as part of a partnership. He was regally bred, a son of undefeated Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew out of Weekend Surprise, a daughter of legendary Triple Crown winner Secretariat, himself a noted sire of broodmares.
“There’s no way to put into words what A.P. Indy has meant to my family and Lane’s End,” the younger Farish said. He added the loss of the stallion was especially tough on longtime groom Asa Haley.
A.P. Indy was sold for $2.9 million, over $5.7 million in 2020 dollars, to BBA of Ireland to lead the 1990 Keeneland yearling sale with hopes his perfect conformation and royal pedigree would result in an equally impressive racing career.
He delivered on that promise, beginning with his 1991 Hollywood Futurity victory. He was scratched due to a hoof injury the morning of the 1992 Kentucky Derby and also missed the Preakness, but he prepped under trainer Neil Drysdale for that year’s Belmont with a dominating win in the Peter Pan Stakes, and took the “test of champions” with a 3/4 length-win over My Memoir, matching the second-fastest time with Easy Goer for that race, two seconds off maternal granddad Secretariat’s record.
He earlier scored a victory in the Santa Anita Derby and later the 1992 Breeder’s Cup Classic under regular rider Eddie Delahoussaye to secure Eclipse Awards as Champion 3-Year-Old Male and Horse of the Year. He left racing with an 8-0-1 racing record and earnings of $2,979,815, nearly $5.5 million in 2020 dollars.
He was retired to stud at Lane’s End Farm, where he stood until pensioned in 2011. Interestingly, he was a ridgling with one undescended testicle. The usual remedy for this in racehorses is gelding, but owners did not choose that path. The undescended testicle was removed and his fertility was unaffected.
His retirement was just the beginning of his Hall of Fame (2000) legacy. He would sire a notable line of sons including Pulpit, sire of Tapit, who has gone on to sire multiple graded-winning sons and daughters; 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft; 2006 Preakness Stakes winner and current leading sire Bernardini; and Malibu Moon, sire of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, among many G1 winners.
He was chosen leading sire in North America in 2003 and 2006 and was in the top 10 sires for a decade. He sired 88 graded stakes winners and 12 black-type Champions. His stakes winners-to-foals ratio was 13%, the best among his stallion contemporaries. A.P. Indy was also a notable broodmare sire, an unusual combination.
Among his daughters was 2007 Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches, and others also included dams of Champions Royal Delta (Delta Princess), Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver (Supercharger), Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty (Liszy), and G1 stakes winners Bluegrass Cat (She’s A Winner) and Any Given Saturday (Weekend In Indy).
He was most prized as a source of stamina in an industry now tending to breed for speed, meaning his progeny were more ideally suited to run the longer classic distances.
Because of the success of his progeny, he stood for $300,000 for most of his breeding career.
He sired his last foals in 2010 and, while only 36 of 80 mares bred would conceive, two, Honor Code and Got Lucky—so named because it took multiple breedings for her dam (Malka) to conceive—would become G1 winners. He was pensioned in April, 2011 when all 24 mares with whom he was bred failed to conceive.
In retirement at home at Lane’s End, he retained his old stall. His son Mineshaft occupied the stall opposite him and son Honor Code in the stall next to him.
Both sons still stand at Lane’s End where they and others throughout the Thoroughbred world will continue to carry on the legacy of A.P. Indy.