Marking the end of an era in the Thoroughbred marketplace, the final yearlings by A.P. Indy are being offered at public auction. The great racehorse and stallion has 36 offspring in his last crop and 15 are cataloged for the Keeneland September yearling sale, which kicks off in Lexington Sept. 10.
Nine of those progeny are listed in book one (the select portion) of the September sale catalog, and the rest are in book two. As of Sept. 9, two had been scratched, according to information published on Keeneland's website (www.keeneland.com).
"A.P. Indy has been an incredible ambassador for this sport," said Headley Bell of Mill Ridge Sales and Nicoma Bloodstock. "He's contributed a lot on both the sire and dam sides of pedigrees and you can't ask for anything more than that. He definitely made an impact."
Bred by Will Farish of Lane's End Farm and W.S. Kilory, A.P. Indy topped the 1990 Keeneland July select yearling sale, bringing $2.9 million. BBA (Ireland) purchased him for $2.9 million from Lane's End and he began his racing career running for Tomonori Tsurumaki.
A son of Seattle Slew, A.P. Indy was the Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male in 1992 when he won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II), and San Rafael Stakes (gr. II). Farish and Kilroy were members of the partnership that campaigned A.P. Indy later in his competitive career.
After entering stud at Lane's End in Kentucky, A.P. Indy became a top stallion, leading all North American sires in progeny earnings in 2003 and 2006. The dark bay or brown horse was North America's leading sire of sale yearlings based on average price in 2007, 2010, and 2011. He ranked second in 2004, 2005, and 2008. In 2005, 22 of his offspring averaged $925,773, a career high for the stallion.
A.P. Indy's progeny "weren't always the most attractive horses, but you learned to like them because they performed," Bell said. "The same thing can be said of the Dynaformers and for plenty of other stallions, that's also the case. People grow to like them (the progeny) because they perform on the track and they accept the way they are (physically). Overall, the A.P. Indys have quality, but they're sometimes dipped in the back or back in the knee. They're not perfect conformationally, but you see that they are consistently fantastic racehorses."
Last year, A.P. Indy retired from the breeding shed at the age of 22 after failing to get any mares in foal..
"It hasn't really sunk in yet that this is the last group of his yearlings," said Lane's End's Bill Farish. "For some reason, it doesn't feel like the end because there are so many sons of his (at stud). It's obviously something we've been knowing was coming. It's something that happens, unfortunately. But it's rare that you lose one that is as good as he is."
Even though A.P. Indy has been extremely successful as sire, Farish wasn't anticipating an explosion in prices for the stallion's final offspring. But there was no doubt, in his mind, that they would be popular.
"You don't usually see a big bounce in the last group of horses even though you think you would," Farish said. "In his case, buyers certainly have had a lot of years to look at them (his progeny) already. But I'm sure there will be buyers who know that it is the last chance to get one of them. A.P. Indy has been such a good broodmare sire and a sire of sires that they've got to think that they have every chance with one down the road."
Said Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales: "A.P. Indy is arguably one of the great American classic sires. There won't be any more of his yearlings after this year, so this is a great time for people to jump in and buy. It's the last chance."
In another notable stallion-related development, members of the last American yearling crop of Empire Maker are being offered at public auction this year at Keeneland in September and elsewhere. Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms sold the sire to the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders Association late in 2010. The son of Unbridled won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in 2003.
"It was really sad," McDonald said. "I understand why Juddmonte sold him at the time it did because he was sort of at a low ebb as a stallion. But since that moment, he's taken off. He could have been as good an American sire as we've had. I'm lucky because my clients bred a lot of mares to him."