Two-time grade 1-winning sprinter A. P. Indian has been retired, trainer Arnaud Delacour announced July 31.
The announcement of the 7-year-old Indian Charlie gelding's retirement came two days after an ankle ailment forced him to scratch out of the July 29 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) at Saratoga Race Course.
"He's always had some minor (ankle issues)," Delacour said. "It's getting a little bit difficult to manage right now. Even if the horse is technically sound, it would probably become performance limiting, so there is no other way.
"To be competing at the grade 1 level, you need to be 100% (sound) and we did not feel that he was 100% the last time. The decision was pretty easy to make. He's a 7-year-old and it's only fair to retire him and find him a good home."
The Green Lantern Stables homebred retired with an 11-6-1 record from 20 starts and earnings of $1,477,434.
"We wanted to retire him while he will be completely sound going forward," said Green Lantern owner Richard Masson. "He probably could run again, but not against top company and not certainly at his best. And a horse that has treated us as well as he has deserves for us to do the same thing in return.
"The fact that he was lightly raced and had a number of injuries early in his career, and the fact that we took extra time (for him) to fully recover from all of those, allowed him to have the year that he had when he was 6 years old. Our patience in this case was rewarded," he added.
A. P. Indian won his only start at 2, taking a six-furlong maiden race by six lengths at Delaware Park. From ages 3 to 5, he ran first or second in eight starts, winning two listed stakes races. He finished sixth in his last two starts of 2015, including his first graded stakes attempt, the only two times in his career that he did not finish in the top two.
The bay sprinter went on a tear through 2016, winning six in a row, including four graded stakes. After narrowly pulling off a win in the Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes (G3) in July, he claimed his first top-level victory in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt, and a month later took the Priority One Jets Forego Stakes (G1), defeating Tamarkuz , Stallwalkin' Dude, and Limousine Liberal.
That fall, A. P. Indian broke the track record for six furlongs at Keeneland when he won the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G2) in 1:08.43. His only loss that year came in the controversial TwinSpires.com Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), where he crossed the wire fourth but was elevated to third after the disqualification of second-place finisher Masochistic.
A. P. Indian finished second in two starts this year, both in graded company.
"The Vanderbilt, to me, that probably meant more than the others since that was the first grade 1 win," Delacour said of his favorite memory of A. P. Indian on the track. "And those two victories at Saratoga were pretty special—Saratoga is an iconic place for North American racing."
While Delacour said it's too early to say what exactly the gelding will be doing in retirement, he said A. P. Indian's injuries will likely not limit him from having a second career.
"He's going to go back to Fair Hill and will be turned out for three weeks, and then probably go to the owner's farm, Green Lantern, and be turned out for a few months," the trainer said.
"It's probably too early to tell, but he's going to be sound enough to think about another career. We'd love to have him as a stable pony so we can keep him in the barn. He's such a neat little horse and he'd be perfect for that."
Masson said his former charge will likely become a stable pony but when or if that career ends, the gelding will have a home at Green Lantern in Versailles, Ky.