Belmont winner, influential sire A.P. Indy dies at 31

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Belmont Stakes winner, 1992 Horse of the Year and one of the country’s most influential sires A.P. Indy passed away at age 31 at Lane’s End Farm, the Versailles, Ky. farm he was born at and spent most of his life at. For horses, 31 is considered very old, and he was the oldest living winner of the Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The son of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew and grandson of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, A.P. Indy picked up his first Grade 1 win as a 2-year-old in the 1991 Hollywood Futurity. Between 1991 and 1992, he went undefeated in seven starts, taking the 1992 Santa Anita Derby and Belmont Stakes. He dipped to 5th in the G2 Molson Export Million Stakes (G2) before taking third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont. He finished his career with a win in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

A.P. Indy was retired and returned home to Lane’s End in 1993, where he began to dominate the North American sire ranks. He was the leading sire in 2003 and 2006 and stayed in the top-10 for 10 straight years, siring 88 graded stakes winners including 2000 Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Status; 2006 Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini; 2007 Kentucky Oaks and Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches; and 2015 Met Mile and Whitney winner Honor Code.

A.P. Indy was the grandsire of Tapit, a three-time North American leading sire who is known for producing Belmont winners, meaning that 2014 Belmont winner Tonalist, 2016 winner Creator and 2017 winner Tapwrit count A.P. Indy as an ancestor. Others in his sire line include 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome; 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb; and a slew of Breeders’ Cup and other major stakes winners.

Through his daughters, A.P. Indy was the grandsire of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and 2011 Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty, among others.

Pegasus races planned for Gulfstream and Santa Anita in 2024

Horse racing on Opening day of the winter-spring meet at Santa Anita Park.
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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – After seven Pegasus World Cup events, it’s evidently time for change.

1/ST Racing, which has hosted the entirety of the Pegasus series to this point at Gulfstream Park, is planning for two Pegasus days in 2024 – one at Gulfstream and the other at Santa Anita. Details aren’t finalized and it’s unclear how it would fit in the racing calendar, but 1/ST is planning for both dirt and turf Pegasus races as part of the Santa Anita program.

Gulfstream played host to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on the dirt Saturday, along with the $1 million Pegasus Turf and the $500,000 Pegasus Filly and Mare Turf.

“I’d really love to see that we bring it to the West Coast,” 1/ST President and CEO Belinda Stronach said. “That will probably happen in 2024. What we did this year for 2023 was said, `OK, we have a number of great race days, let’s coordinate those better and call it the 1/ST Racing Tour and recognize great achievements within our own footprint.”

Saturday marked the first stop on that new 1/ST Racing Tour. Along with some of the biggest race days at 1/ST tracks – like Florida Derby day at Gulfstream on April 1, Santa Anita Derby day on April 8 and the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 20 – there are a pair of days where the tour will be running simultaneously.

This coming Saturday, Gulfstream will play host to the Holy Bull while Santa Anita has the Robert B. Lewis – both of them Kentucky Derby prep races.

And on March 4, Gulfstream has the Fountain of Youth, another major Derby prep, while San Anita has the Big Cap. Plans call for coordinated post times at those two tracks on those days to provide the best racing action every 20 minutes, as well as some unique betting options.

“We can never rest on our laurels,” Stronach said. “We have to keep moving forward. We have a great team that’s really committed.”

The main Pegasus race is one of the biggest-paying races in North America. Art Collector claimed about $1.8 million from a $3 million purse with his win on Saturday. In 2022, only the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf featured bigger prizes among U.S. races, and the $3 million Pegasus purse is equal to the one offered last year at the Kentucky Derby.

Regardless of what happens with the Santa Anita plan for future Pegasus events, Stronach insisted Gulfstream will continue having Pegasus days. There has even been talk about Gulfstream playing host to Breeders’ Cup races again, something that hasn’t happened since 1999.

“This is staying here in Miami,” Stronach said. “Pegasus has a home here in Miami. We can’t move Pegasus from Miami. We have great partners here and it’s more than just a day now. We have deep roots here in Miami.”

Arabian Knight earns Baffert record 6th win in Southwest

Betway Challow Hurdle Day - Newbury Racecourse
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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Arabian Knight won the $750,000 Southwest Stakes by 5 1/2 lengths at Oaklawn, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his record sixth victory in the race.

The colt came into the Kentucky Derby prep as one of the most highly touted 3-year-olds in the country. Arabian Knight, who was purchased for $2.3 million as a 2-year-old, was making his second career start and first on a sloppy track in front of 27,000 fans in Arkansas.

“These good horses are hard to come by,” said Baffert, who was on hand in Hot Springs. “We’ve had a lot of luck here at Oaklawn, so it was nice to have a horse like this.”

However, Arabian Knight was ineligible to earn the Kentucky Derby qualifying points awarded to the winner because Baffert has been suspended for two years by Churchill Downs Inc. The penalty, which ends shortly after this year’s Derby on May 6, stems from Medina Spirit’s medication violation after the colt won the 2021 Derby and was later disqualified. Baffert is challenging the ban in court.

Ridden by John Velazquez, Arabian Knight ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:43.50 and paid $2.80 to win. He is 2-0 and has career earnings of $544,275.

“He ran 1:43 and change, that’s racehorse time and he did it without taking a deep breath,” Baffert said. “This was a big effort.”

Red Route One closed from last to finish second, and Frosted Departure was third. Sun Thunder was fourth, followed by Jace’s Road, Corona Bolt, El Tomate and Western Ghent.

At Gulfstream in Florida, Baffert’s entry Defunded finished second in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup, beaten by 4 1/2 lengths by Art Collector on Saturday.