As Always, I’m Pulling for Indy

By Art Parker, author of the upcoming “Keeneland Winning Trainer Patterns – 2014 Spring Meet” edition.

Shortly after my wife and I married in 1991, I became familiar with a two year old in California that began his racing career. He sold for a big price as a yearling and was truly a “blue blood.” The son of Seattle Slew from Secretariat’s outstanding daughter, Weekend Surprise, came to the racing world as a ridgling named A.P. Indy. I was at the OTB the day he won the Hollywood Futurity and remember coming home and telling my wife that we had a youngster to watch. The next week she watched a replay of the race with me and said she loved the way he moved. The big guy became “our horse.”

A.P. Indy was indeed a cool dude and it didn’t hurt that he had a rider who was as cool as they came, the great Eddie Delahoussaye. On the track they looked like they were made for each other. I remember coming down the stretch Eddie D. would have his head cocked to one side and he was hand riding the big guy and coaxing him to go on. It looked like he was asking A.P. Indy if he was going to goof off the rest of the day or get the job done, and of course he would do the latter.

A.P. Indy was the 3 year old champ and Horse of the Year in 1992. He was a product of excellent breeding. He delivered everything we wanted in our weekend track heroes. And when his work was done he went to work at a new job, stud duty, and he excelled with that job just like we wanted. He has given us 11 champions and 136 stakes winners. We asked him to run and he ran as only the great horses can. We asked him to give us great runners and he loaded the starting gate year after year.

But like so many before him ‘Father Time’ caught up and a couple of years ago his last day on the job arrived. A.P. Indy was pensioned from stud duty and he was no longer required to work for a living.

My wife and I always get excited when one of his many fine runners wins a race, even if I bet against them. I think the greatest moment I recall about A.P. Indy’s get is the day his greatest daughter whipped the boys in the Belmont. Her name was one of the great names: Rags to Riches. Wow, was she special. She was obedient and followed instructions. Like her dad she could run all day long. And in the Belmont she went by the script and won, showing what real class is.

Those days of watching Indy’s kids run and win are almost over, at least for the classic races. This year is the last year he will have a 3 year old to run. The bad news for A.P. Indy is that it is now or never for a Derby winner. Among all of the races his progeny have taken, and among all of the top races he won, the biggest jewel of them all is missing from the resume. A.P. Indy was scratched from the Derby in 1992 due to a foot problem and he has never sired a Derby winner. Last year his grandson, Orb, won the Derby, and that is as close as he has been.

So this year I will pull for whatever Indy can get to Louisville and as of now, there are four Indy’s nominated to the Triple Crown. They are Honor Code, Commissioner, and fillies Indy’s Million and Got Lucky. With all due respect to the ladies I am compelled to look to the sons for some Derby magic.

Honor Code has already proven himself on the track with a graded stakes victory and he is definitely a blue blood with the magnificent Storm Cat being the broodmare sire. He is good hands with trainer Shug McGaughey, who trained Orb to victory last year. Commissioner has a shot and is trained by Todd Pletcher. Commissioner’s broodmare sire is another Belmont winner, Touch Gold. There is one thing about A.P. Indy’s three-year-old sons that are nominated to the Triple Crown…distance is no problem.

I don’t get to excited about the Derby, spend time thinking about it or letting it get in the way of my normal racing interests. But this year I have to be interested. I’m pulling hard for his sons and hope they can be there the first Saturday in May.

A win in the Derby by one of his sons will be a great tribute to the big guy who has given us so much.