Even before he came into the world, he had greatness flowing through him. Not very many horses are the son and grandson of two horses who swept the Triple Crown, and when he was born on March 31, 1989, A.P. Indy was destined to accomplish a lot in Thoroughbred racing.
Unfortunately, the Triple Crown was not in the cards for him, but he still managed to build a brilliant career both on and off the racetrack.
A son of Seattle Slew and Weekend Surprise, and owned by Japanese businessman Tomonori Tsurumaki (who would later be joined by Farish, Goodman, and Kilroy), A.P. Indy was fourth in his debut at Del Mar in the summer of 1991, just like his grandfather Secretariat was at Aqueduct nineteen years earlier. But A.P. Indy's debut came in a sprint, and he was obviously bred for longer distances.
For the remainder of his career, A.P. Indy would largely experience nothing but victory. Starting with the Oak Tree meet two months later, A.P. Indy would be unstoppable for months after breaking his maiden, just as Seattle Slew had been during his two year old season to when he won the Triple Crown.
With Neil Drysdale training, the wins kept coming as fall turned into winter and then spring. From October to early April, A.P. Indy proved he liked routing, winning at a mile, a mile and a sixteenth, and a mile and an eighth. Class was also prevalent, as could be expected with his family tree. During that time, the resume grew to include the Hollywood Futurity, San Rafael Stakes, and Santa Anita Derby, all Grade I or Grade II events. When it came to running style, A.P. Indy was multi-dimensional. He won while controlling the pace, staying close to the front, or rallying from several lengths back. Equipped with those abilities, A.P. Indy looked to be a strong contender for the Kentucky Derby.
However, joining his sire and damsire as a champion of the famed race was not to be. A hoof injury sidelined A.P. Indy just before the Run for the Roses, but he would still add some Triple Crown glory to the family history.
He made his return in the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park three weeks after the Derby, finishing well in front of the runner up. That set him up for the Belmont Stakes, the race that had served as the backdrop for Secretariat and Seattle Slew's greatest triumph. A.P. Indy would not be going for the Triple Crown in New York, but he did have a chance to join his descendants as a winner of the Test of the Champion.
After spending much of the race within striking distance of the front, A.P. Indy made his move around the far turn. Engaged in a gritty battle from the top of the stretch, A.P. Indy did not back down, both he and regular rider Eddie Delahoussaye fighting with all their might. As the Belmont reached its zenith, the two surged forward for the win. It was the biggest win of A.P. Indy's career, and it also carried a bittersweet feeling, for it made one wonder what might have been had he not been injured before the Kentucky Derby.
Still, he had his moment in the spring classics, and it was one he richly deserved.
After taking most of the summer off, A.P. Indy returned at Woodbine for the Grade II Molson Export Million Stakes, the only race he would ever start outside the United States. The result was a fifth, but he only lost by a couple of lengths. Up next was the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park a month later, and while he lost, A.P. Indy still displayed tremendous talent and courage.
After stumbling at the start and getting bumped around, the Belmont Stakes champion found himself in last and several lengths down in the backstretch. Even with the large defecit in front of him, A.P. Indy was not going to go down without a fight. Around the far turn, he reeled the field in, and looked like he had a chance for what would have been a shocking win given the circumstances. The Belmont Park crowd roared as the field turned for home, much of that no doubt for the electrifying rally from A.P. Indy. He tried all the way down the stretch, coming in third in what was a tremendous comeback after a disasterous beginning.
The Jockey Club Gold Cup was the first time A.P. Indy went a mile and a quarter, but he had one more chance to win at the distance. Entered in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Gulfstream Park, the colt took on thirteen rivals. There would be no bad starts in the Classic, and A.P. Indy stayed multiple lengths behind before unleashing a run in the far turn and charging past the leader in the stretch, getting the win in the Breeders' Cup's biggest event along with the Eclipse Awards for Top Three Year Old Male and Horse of the Year later on. The Hall of Fame called in 2000, and the colt joined his father and grandfather as a member of that club.
He retired with 8 wins and a third in 11 starts, earning more than $2.9 million in his career (and he was bought for $2.9 million in 1990 at the Keeneland July Sale). The Classic would be the final start of A.P. Indy's career, but in reality he was just at the beginning of his time in racing. Sent to Lane's End for stallion duty, A.P. Indy sired 18 crops, and became one of the greatest sires in recent memory.
As of March 2019, he has sired close to hundreds of race winners, scores of stakes winners, and multiple champions. One of those champions was Mineshaft, who joined his sire as a Horse of the Year winner.
When it came to the Triple Crown, A.P. Indy has shown up in the bloodlines of winners since he raced, with Super Saver and Orb among those related to him. He also won the Preakness as a sire with Bernardini, and became a Belmont Stakes winner again with Rags to Riches and Honor Code.
Still at Lane's End, those who saw A.P. Indy remember the talent, the power, the determination they saw when he was in action. He loved to win, and was simply great on the track.
That also applies to his career as a stallion, and the influence he has had over breeding for the last quarter-century stretches throughout the sport.
A.P. Indy is a legend both on and off the track. His accomplishments have ensured his status as one of the grand champions of racing, and one of the most loved.