Ten of the 50 leading sires of 2016 are either by A.P. Indy or his son Pulpit.

Ten of the 50 leading sires of 2016 are either by A.P. Indy or his son Pulpit.

Anne M. Eberhardt

How a Sire Line Develops

There are two overriding theories of how breeders decide on a mating.

There are two overriding theories of how breeders decide on a mating for racing, and possible future breeding success, and they are usually completely independent of each other, to wit: 

“Paper Pedigree Analysis” combines research into a mare’s family and sire’s sire line, pedigree nicks, and sometimes functionality (now defined as dosage). This is often done without going out to the farm to look at these potential mates.

“Physical Analysis” takes into consideration the hands-on based practice of breeding like-to-like with attention paid to correcting a fault, and has evolved over the past half-century into the specialty of biomechanics.  

While rarely do the twains seem to meet, they do more often than some stalwarts of each theory like to admit. We conjured this after recovering from this year’s Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (gr. I) card in which five of the 10 stakes races were won by offspring of the male line of A.P. Indy. In addition to Tapit’s Creator winning the Belmont, his son Frosted chrushed his field in the Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I). Two other grade I races fell to daughters of A.P. Indy’s Malibu Moon (Carina Mia in the Acorn Stakes) and Bernardini (Cavorting in the Ogden Phipps Stakes). Flatter’s Economic Model won the Easy Goer Stakes. 

Ten of the 50 leading sires of 2016 are either by A.P. Indy or his son Pulpit. When has that happened before? We’re not sure, and we’re not going to shuffle through the deck to find out. But what struck us after a bit more research was that broodmare sires of each of these stallions may have played a part in how they managed to get to where they are today—even if A.P. Indy is the one who is carrying half the bucket’s contents.

Thus, have the twains met? 

Right off we have a monster nick—five of the stallions are out of mares by Mr. Prospector, exemplified by Pulpit, who is the sire of both Tapit (dam by Unbridled, whose sire Fappiano was by Mr. Prospector) and Sky Mesa (dam by Storm Cat). The others out of Mr. Prospector mares are Congrats and his full brother Flatter, Malibu Moon, and Mineshaft. Doubly underscoring this nick is Bernardini, out of a mare by Quiet American (another son of Fappiano) and Majestic Warrior, who is out of a Seeking the Gold mare. Out there with Sky Mesa sporting Storm Cat as his broodmare sire is Jump Start.

This is easy. All you have to do is know how to read, right?  Not quite.

As both pedigree aficionados and biomechanical evaluators, we went looking for some physical clues. And as we discovered much in the same way we ferreted out the physical similarities of Belmont winners as sires in the June 11 issue by plotting them on our phenotype target. It turns out these 10 descendants of A.P. Indy have some like-to-likes in common.

The phenotype target shows A.P. Indy (dot in red) to be balanced when it comes to power and stride, with enough body weight to process his energy (the closer to the center, the better). The most consistent sires (and mares) have always been in or around this place on our target because they bring so much to the table that helps compensate for some deficiency in their mates.



Note that all his sons and grandsons are in black—except for a couple with lighter body weight; they are all in his proximity. That means he is passing on his best racing and reproductive qualities extensively—and is dominant.

Then notice the dots for the broodmare sires (green). After a couple of decades of sire lines that seem to have come and gone because they tended to be too extreme in power, or stride, or weight factors, we seem to be in the middle of a correction. What a guy!