A.P. Indy, the 1992 Horse of the Year and one of the world's great stallions, died peacefully on Friday at his longtime home of Lane's End Farm near Versailles in Kentucky.
Bill Farish of Lane's End said everyone at the farm was leaning on one another on a difficult Friday. He noted how much A.P. Indy meant to his father, William S. Farish, who bred the horse with William Kilroy and later came back to own him as part of a partnership.
"Anytime Dad visits the farm, his first stop is to go visit A.P. Indy," Bill Farish said, adding that Friday was a tough day for his dad.
A.P. Indy, a son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, was the leading sire twice, leading broodmare sire once, and among the leaders on both lists multiple times.
Bill Farish said there was no specific illness that caused A.P. Indy's death, just the infirmities of old age. He said the loss of the stallion was especially tough on longtime groom Asa Haley.
"There's no way to put into words what A.P. Indy has meant to my family and Lane's End," Farish said.
On the track, a foot bruise and blind quarter crack cost A.P. Indy a chance to run in the Kentucky Derby, which he would have entered off five consecutive wins, including the Santa Anita Derby over Bertrando.
After deciding that the Preakness Stakes came up too quickly on the calendar, trainer Neil Drysdale entered A.P. Indy in the Peter Pan Stakes - eight days after the Preakness - where he rolled to a five and a half-length score over Colony Light at Belmont Park.
That effort prepared A.P. Indy for his Classic moment, and he delivered, rallying from fourth to win by three-quarters of a length over My Memoirs in the Belmont Stakes.
That victory under regular rider Eddie Delahoussaye affirmed what many had seen from the start for the colt who boasted a pair of Triple Crown winners close up in his pedigree, being by Seattle Slew out of Weekend Surprise, a daughter of Secretariat.
Purchased by BBA Ireland for $2.9 million from the Lane's End consignment, A.P. Indy topped the 1990 Keeneland July Summer Selected Yearling Sale.
Bidding for BBA Ireland was Noel O'Callaghan, who outlasted D Wayne Lukas to purchase A.P. Indy on behalf of Tomonori Tsurumaki, who campaigned him for the majority of his career until a partnership was formed ahead of his final start. Tsurumaki had raced horses for 20 years in Japan and was credited for being completely understanding about the ill-timed injury ahead of the Derby.
A.P. Indy came up short in his first two starts after the Belmont, finishing fifth in the Molson Export Million Stakes at Woodbine and third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, where he finished behind Pleasant Tap.
But three weeks later at Gulfstream Park, A.P. Indy turned the tables on that rival and scored by two lengths in the Breeders' Cup Classic. He was named champion three-year-old male and Horse of the Year.
That Breeders' Cup victory was the final race for A.P. Indy, who had even more success as a stallion at Lane's End, where in 1993 he stood for $50,000. By 2002, that fee reached $300,000, where it stayed for seven seasons.
A.P. Indy was the leading sire in 2003 and 2006 and finished among the leading sires six other years in that decade. He was named the leading broodmare sire in 2015 and finished among the leaders seven other times.
His champions include Classic winner Bernardini, Horse of the Year Mineshaft, Honor Code and filly Rags to Riches, who beat the boys in the 2007 Belmont, edging eventual two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.
Other champions include Tempera, two-time Canadian champion Marchfield, Canadian champions Eye of the Leopard, Catch The Thrill, and Serenading, and Dubai Horse of the Year Festival Of Light.
"A stallion like A.P. Indy is something you dream about," William S. Farish told BloodHorse in 2006. "Mr. Kilroy and I bred him and sold him. He was a sale-topper and went on to be a champion. We syndicated him, and now he's a two-time leading sire. He's one of those dream horses that you hardly ever come by."
A.P. Indy has 29 sons standing at stud.
He closed his stallion career in 2011. Even in retirement, A.P. Indy remained a star as Bill Farish noted he was the highlight of every tour at the farm. No one was any closer to A.P. Indy than Haley.
"He's not a horse to me, he's a person," Haley said in a 2019 BloodHorse story. "But when people come, that's who they want to see - A.P. Indy. If people see me out in public and recognise me, they always ask how he's doing. He's very close to my heart."
In that same story, Bill Farish summed up A.P. Indy's impact at Lane's End.
"For Lane's End, he really is the franchise maker. The farm had been in existence for 20 years before he was born, and the last 30 years with him have been incredible."