Inside Track: Tribute to a Champion

Inside Track: Tribute to a Champion
Photo: courtesy of Karen Kasper
Karen Kasper and the small version of her A.P. Indy sculpture
In the back of the courtyard at the Lane’s End stallion barn, a new equine figure has been given permanent residence. It is a life-sized bronze of the farm’s greatest stallion, A.P. Indy, commissioned by co-breeder William S. Farish.

Sixteen years ago, the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) results issue of The Blood-Horse featured a cover shot of A.P. Indy in full stride as he bested 10 others under jockey Eddie Delahoussaye for trainer Neil Drysdale. The statue features the respected Thoroughbred in another pose—a stance exhibiting his conformation, reflecting his remarkable career as a stallion—as crafted by Lexington sculptress Karen Kasper.

“Karen is, I feel, the best equine sculptress in the country,” Farish said. “To have somebody do an outstanding job like she did, bringing out the personality of the horse, that’s exciting. We’re thrilled to have this statue in place.”

Kasper crafted the A.P. Indy sculpture in 12 months, turning out a final work consisting of 1,200 pounds of bronze. The process began with sculpting clay and life study sessions, during which the artist spent time at Lane’s End to watch the stallion’s body language and observe the way he carried himself. The maquette, a smaller bronze model from which the life-sized sculpture would be cast, was then taken to Tuska Studio Fine Art Foundry in Lexington, where it was produced as a finished piece in its own right. The life-sized bronze was cast at Bronze Services of Loveland, in Loveland, Colo. 

“The commission from Ambassador Farish to sculpt this portrait of A.P. Indy is truly an honor and privilege,” said the artist, a lifelong horse lover whose previous projects for Farish included small bronzes of Lane’s End stallions Dixieland Band and Kingmambo. “A.P. Indy is by any measure—pedigree, performance, and progeny—one of the greatest Thoroughbreds in my lifetime.”

A.P. Indy, now 19, was named Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male in 1992 after a campaign that included scores in the Belmont, San Rafael (gr. II), and Peter Pan (gr. II) Stakes, Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), and Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). Retired to stud following his Breeders’ Cup score, A.P. Indy went on to become the nation’s leading sire in 2003 and ’06. He has 111 stakes winners to his credit, including 2006 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Bernardini and 2007 Belmont winner Rags to Riches. He stands at Lane’s End for fee of $300,000 live foal.

“I wanted to do a life-sized bronze of ‘A.P.’ because he’s really one of our foundation stallions,” said Farish. “We bred him, and he’s come back to stand at the farm; he’s a two-time champion and one of the outstanding stallions in the country. He’s a crowning achievement of what we try to develop at Lane’s End.”

The son of Seattle Slew out of Weekend Surprise, by Secretariat, won the Belmont after scratching from that year’s Kentucky Derby (gr. I) with a blind quarter crack.

“It was very exciting to see him win because he had been favored for the Derby and had to be held out that morning,” Farish said. “To get him back to win the Belmont was certainly a terrific job of training as far as Neil Drysdale was concerned. I think since he did it going a mile and a half—and considering that he had the quarter crack problems before and after that race—the fact that he won was very impressive. He went on to really stamp himself as a champion when he won the Breeders’ Cup Classic that year, but he inspired the idea with his Belmont win.”

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