A.P. Indy, a Horse of the Year on the track and one of the all-time great sires off the track, died at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky last Friday from what was said to have been the infirmities of old age. He was 31.
Lane’s End issued the following statement: “A.P. Indy passed away peacefully in his stall at the Lane’s End stallion complex, the barn he called home for 27 years. Champion A.P. Indy’s list of accomplishments range far and wide, as his legacy continues to be carried through the outstanding performances of his sons and daughters across the globe. He was the most important and popular member of the Lane’s End team, and we are deeply sorry to all who loved him as much as we did.”
William Farish and W.S. Kilroy bred A.P. Indy in Kentucky. A son of Seattle Slew and the Secretariat mare Weekend Surprise, A.P. Indy was born on March 31, 1989.
A.P. Indy had a Triple Crown lineage. Seattle Slew and Secretariat were both Triple Crown winners. A.P. Indy’s pedigree had additional appeal in that Weekend Surprise produced 1990 Preakness Stakes winner Summer Squall.
With such regal breeding, it should come no surprise that A.P. Indy sold for a bundle at public auction. He fetched a final bid of $2.9 million to top the 1990 Keeneland summer yearling sale. In fact, A.P. Indy was the most expensive yearling sold at public auction in the nation that year.
Tomonori Tsurumaki of Japan purchased A.P. Indy by outbidding trainer D. Wayne Lukas. With Seattle Slew and Secretariat appearing prominently in the yearling’s pedigree, it is perfectly understandable that Lukas took a keen interest in A.P. Indy at the Keeneland sale.
Lukas trained Landaluce, a Seattle Slew filly who never lost in five career starts and was voted a 1982 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly. Lukas also conditioned two very talented daughters of Secretariat in Terlingua and Lady’s Secret. Terlingua, one of the nation’s top 2-year-old fillies in 1978, would become the dam of super sire Storm Cat. Lady’s Secret was voted 1986 Horse of the Year.
Tsurumaki bought both A.P. Indy and A.P. Jet at that 1990 Keeneland sale. A.P. Jet was acquired for $2 million. The purchases of these two yearlings paled in comparison to the $51.3 million Tsurumaki spent in 1989 to buy Picasso’s “Pierrette’s Wedding,” at the time the second-highest price ever paid for a painting.
Tsurumaki sent both A.P. Indy and A.P. Jet to trainer Neil Drysdale at Hollywood Park. Tsurumaki wanted one of the two to race in Japan. Drysdale was to train the two youngsters and send the one he felt was more precocious to Japan. Drysdale felt A.P. Jet was the more precocious of the two. Thus, A.P. Jet was sent to Japan to race.
A.P. Jet did well in Japan. He earned $1.4 million. I saw him race at Tokyo Race Course on Nov. 24, 1991. A.P. Jet won the fourth race that day by a huge margin. In the 10th race, Golden Pheasant, with Gary Stevens riding, captured the rich ($2.7 million) Japan Cup for trainer Charlie Whittingham.
In 1997, A.P. Jet returned to the U.S. and entered stud at Sugar Maple Farm in New York. He was New York’s leading sire in 2005. A.P. Jet was pensioned in 2008. According to BloodHorse, A.P. Jet died “because of complications of old age” in 2010 at the age of 21.
Drysdale, a one-time assistant to Whittingham, saddled A.P. Indy for his first career start in 1991. It came in a six-furlong maiden special weight race at Del Mar on Aug. 24. He was sent away as the 2-1 favorite. Eddie Delahoussaye rode A.P. Indy in that race and in all 10 of his future starts.
A.P. Indy raced five times in Southern California. I called all five of those official Daily Racing Form charts.
In his first start, A.P. Indy raced fifth early in the field of seven and never threatened. He finished fourth.
When A.P. Indy got beat at first asking, virtually nobody knew that he was born a ridgling, which meant he had one undescended testicle. He was listed in the Del Mar program and Daily Racing Form past performances as a colt rather than as a ridgling. He would not be listed as a ridgling for his first six races. The first time he was listed as a ridgling in the program and in the DRF was when he was entered in the 1992 Kentucky Derby. It really should not have taken as long as it did for that to happen. Furthermore, after A.P. Indy’s disappointing first race, hardly anybody knew that he underwent surgery for removal of the undescended testicle.
Because A.P. Indy “was never comfortable” in this first race because the undescended testicle was bothering him, he then had the undescended testicle removed before his next start on Oct. 27. A.P. Indy’s improvement was dramatic. He reeled off seven consecutive victories.
In his final start at 2, A.P. Indy won the Grade I, $500,000 Hollywood Futurity at Hollywood Park by a neck. Dance Floor, the 3-1 favorite trained by Lukas and owned by recording artist M.C. Hammer, finished second.
A.P. Indy’s margin of victory was small. It also was quite misleading. It did not do justice to his superiority. Of the thousands of charts I called for the DRF throughout the years, there were very few times a horse prevailed by such a small margin and I did not put “won driving” in the chart. The 1991 renewal of the 1 1/16-mile Hollywood Futurity was one of the rare exceptions.
If you want to see a jockey winning a race by a small margin while riding so confidently he is not asking his mount to run all out, watch a video of the 1991 Hollywood Futurity. This was what I wrote in the chart:
“A.P. INDY, unhurried while being outrun early and four wide in the clubhouse turn, lost ground when wide while in the middle of the track all the way down the backstretch, was five wide into the far turn, rallied on the far turn without being hard ridden, passed the quarter pole four wide, engaged for the lead approaching the furlong marker, battled for command throughout the final furlong while being shown the whip right-handed while outside DANCE FLOOR and had the necessary late response to prevail by a small margin.”
In A.P. Indy’s lifetime past performances that appear in the Daily Racing Form book “Champions,” the comment for A.P. Indy’s Hollywood Futurity says: “Bid strongly, driving.” But the chart that I called does not say he “won driving.” It says he “won ridden out.”
Why the discrepancy? It’s simply a mistake in “Champions,” which is too bad. The comment for A.P. Indy’s Hollywood Futurity in his lifetime past performances should say “Ridden out” to match the chart.
You can judge it for yourself. Watch the 1991 Hollywood Futurity on YouTube and count how many times Delahoussaye strikes A.P. Indy with the whip. You will see it’s zero times. Here is the YouTube link:
“The Hollywood Futurity victory made A.P. Indy one of the future book favorites for the Kentucky Derby behind the Breeders’ Cup sensation, Arazi, who topped the Experimental Free Handicap at 130 pounds,” the esteemed Joe Hirsch wrote in the American Racing Manual. “The danger was to do too much, but Drysdale majored in patience at Whittingham U. and started Indy only once before the Santa Anita Derby in early April.”
In his first start at 3, A.P. Indy won Santa Anita’s Grade II San Rafael Stakes by three-quarters of a length on Feb. 29. That set him up nicely for the Grade I Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles on April 4. Fourth early, A.P. Indy won going away by 1 3/4 lengths. Bertrando finished second in the field of seven. In the 1991 BC Juvenile on a bone-chilling cold afternoon at Churchill Downs, Bertrando had finished second to Arazi, whose electrifying rally to win by five lengths after being 13th early remains one of the most memorable moments in Breeders’ Cup history.
This is what I wrote of A.P Indy in the chart for the 1992 Santa Anita Derby: “A.P. INDY, away in good fashion, settled into an easy striking position early, raced wide down the backstretch, passed the half-mile pole five wide, did not display immediate acceleration but instead moved up gradually to threaten turning into the stretch after being roused with the whip twice right-handed approaching the quarter pole, entered the stretch four wide, resolutely kept to his task through the stretch, was shown the whip in the stretch until nearing the sixteenth marker, was roused with the whip four times right-handed in the vicinity of the sixteenth marker, reached the front shortly after passing the sixteenth marker and drew clear in deep stretch when again being shown the whip.”
Following the Santa Anita Derby, A.P. Indy was sent to Churchill Downs to train for about a month there before the 118th running of the $500,000 Kentucky Derby on May 2.
A.P. Indy was going to be one of the Kentucky Derby favorites along with the aforementioned Arazi. But there was a huge difference in the attention paid to the arrival at Churchill Downs of these two talented 3-year-olds.
When A.P. Indy showed up at Churchill, it made some news. But it was nothing like Arazi’s arrival at that track after he had won his first 3-year-old race in France by five lengths in facile fashion with Steve Cauthen in the saddle.
“No horse since the colorful, stretch-running Silky Sullivan in 1959 -- not even the great Secretariat in 1973 -- caused as much excitement on his arrival in Derbytown as Arazi,” Hirsch wrote. “Television teams from stations throughout the Midwest were present at Standiford Field in record numbers for the appearance on a Sunday afternoon of the wonder horse from France.”
In the book “The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes: A Comprehensive History,” Richard Sowers wrote: “It’s hard to imagine presidents, popes or rock stars would have received a more enthusiastic welcome or closer media scrutiny than Arazi, who attracted crowds lined three deep for 100 yards to watch him exercise” at Churchill Downs.
While Arazi had the fanfare, Delahoussaye was extremely confident that A.P. Indy was going to be his third Kentucky Derby winner, joining Gato Del Sol in 1981 and Sunny’s Halo in 1982. Eddie D. once revealed to me that he surprised his wife, Juanita, and other members of his family when he made a bold prediction concerning A.P. Indy prior to the 1992 Kentucky Derby.
“I told them this horse is going to win the Triple Crown,” Delahoussaye said. “They’d never heard me make a statement like that before. But that’s actually what my feelings were.”
Unfortunately for A.P. Indy and Eddie D., there would be no Kentucky Derby for them. The day before the Run for the Roses, all was not well with A.P. Indy.
A.P. Indy “showed indications of lameness, apparently stemming from a bruise of the left front foot,” Hirsch wrote. “Dr. Alex Harthill, who over the years has attended many Kentucky Derby horses, was A.P. Indy’s vet in Louisville from his arrival almost a month prior to the race. Harthill X-rayed A.P. Indy and recommended hot and colt tubbing and use of a poultice. Some of the lameness was reduced overnight but it was apparent to trainer Neil Drysdale that he would have to make a difficult decision. A.P. Indy would be scratched from the Derby field, despite his short price and despite the fact his owner, Tomonori Tsurumaki, had flown halfway around the world to see him run.
“Hours before post time on Derby Derby, Drysdale held a well-attended press conference at the barn, outlining the problem and the treatment A.P. Indy was receiving. The diagnosis at the time was a deep-seated bruise…It was announced a few days later that the deep bruise was actually a blind quarter crack.”
DEFECTION FROM DERBY DISAPPOINTS A FRIEND
When I worked at Del Mar for the DRF back in those days, I rented a room from Roy Warden, a retired mutuel clerk, in nearby Solana Beach. We became good friends.
Roy once showed me a $50 Kentucky Derby future book ticket he had purchased on A.P. Indy at 100-1. In addition to horse racing, Warden loved camping, fishing and hunting. The weekend of the 1992 Kentucky Derby, he was fishing in the wilds of Colorado. But, of course, he wanted to see the race.
“I drove and drove and drove, trying to find someplace in the middle of nowhere in Colorado that would have a TV so I could watch the race,” he recalled. “After driving for a long time, I finally found a restaurant at the side of the road. I walked in and asked, ‘Do you have a TV?’ They said, yes, there was a TV at the bar. So I headed to the bar. They had the TV on. I asked the bartender if he’d be showing the Kentucky Derby. The guy said, ‘This is the channel that the race is on. They’re showing commercials right now.’ ”
Roy was thrilled that he was going to be able to see his 100-1 future-book horse, A.P. Indy, run in the Kentucky Derby.
But then, all of a sudden, the bartender said to Warden, “It’s really too bad a horse has been scratched.”
Roy felt a sense of dread.
“What horse scratched?” Roy asked, afraid of what the answer might be.
“A.P. Indy,” the bartender replied. “A.P. Indy scratched.”
With that, Roy got up from his bar stool, walked out the door and drove hours back to his campsite to resume his fishing trip.
LIL E. TEE WINS ROSES IN AN UPSET
With A.P. Indy out of the Kentucky Derby, Arazi was hammered down to 9-10 favoritism. For a brief moment during the race, it looked like the “wonder horse from France” and his rider, Pat Valenzuela, were going to win.
“Arazi, the favorite, came away slowly, moved into the backstretch and exploded,” Hirsch wrote. “He passed horses with abandon, swung wide into the stretch, and appeared to have the lead momentarily between calls. That remarkable effort for a horse who had one race in six months took its toll. Arazi was all through and finished eighth.”
On the day that the 1992 Kentucky Derby was run, much of Los Angeles was on fire because the Rodney King riots were going on. In Louisville, while A.P. Indy stayed in the barn, Lil E. Tee won the Kentucky Derby. Dismissed at odds of 16-1, Pat Day rode Lil E. Tee for owner W. Cal Partee and trainer Lynn Whiting. (According to John Eisenberg’s book “The Longest Shot: Lil E. Tee and the Kentucky Derby,” Lil E. Tee nearly died from stomach surgery as a weanling.)
A.P. Indy’s quarter crack also caused him to miss the Grade I Preakness Stakes on May 16 won by Pine Bluff.
Requiring a fiberglass patch to protect the foot with the quarter crack, A.P. Indy returned to competition at Belmont Park on May 24. He won the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan Stakes by five lengths. The Grade II Peter Pan served as an ideal springboard to the Grade I Belmont Stakes on June 6.
Sent off as the 11-10 favorite in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, A.P. Indy did not let his many backers down. He got the job done by three-quarters of a length while still racing with the fiberglass patch. It was his seventh win in a row, all coming after the undescended testicle had been removed.
On a track that was not fast but rather was wet and listed as “good,” A.P. Indy’s final time in the Belmont was 2:26.
These are the fastest final times in the history of the Belmont:
2:24 Secretariat (1973)
2:26 Easy Goer (1989)
A.P. Indy (1992)
2:26 2/5 Point Given (2001)
Risen Star (1988)
2:26 3/5 American Pharoah (2015)
2:26 4/5 Affirmed (1978)
BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC BECOMES THE GOAL
After A.P. Indy’s Belmont triumph, the next major target for him became the BC Classic at Gulfstream Park on Oct. 31.
Drysdale, like Whittingham when he was alive, is as good as there has ever been at having a horse at his or her peak for an important race. For example, in the spring of 1984, Drysdale told me that everything he’d be doing with Princess Rooney would be geared toward having her at her absolute best for the inaugural Breeders’ Cup at Hollywood Park in the fall.
And, man, did Drysdale ever have Princess Rooney ready for a dynamite performance in the BC Distaff on Nov. 10. Few fillies or mares who ever lived could have beaten Princess Rooney that day. She collaborated with Eddie D. to win the 1 1/4-mile BC Distaff with complete authority by seven lengths in 2:02.40. Wild Again won the 1 1/4-mile BC Classic later in the afternoon in 2:03.60.
After A.P. Indy’s victory in the Belmont, “Farish announced that he and several partners [including co-breeder Kilroy] had bought an interest in the 3-year-old from Tsurumaki, who reportedly was experiencing financial problems because of the Japanese recession,” BloodHorse’s Jacqueline Duke wrote.
A.P. Indy started twice between the Belmont and BC Classic.
“A large crowd was on hand at Woodbine on Sept. 21 to see the return of A.P. Indy in the Molson Million for 3-year-olds,” Hirsch wrote. “A.P. Indy was the 7-10 favorite and most fans thought they were attending a coronation. But the king never showed up, or at least was in disguise. On a tiring, cuppy track that proved to be the bane of all shippers, A.P. Indy finished fifth.”
A.P. Indy then finished third in the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup, a 1 1/4-mile event on Oct. 10 at Belmont. Pleasant Tap won by 4 1/2 lengths. Finishing second was Strike the Gold, who had won the Kentucky Derby the year before.
In the book “Breeders’ Cup: Thoroughbred Racing’s Championship Day,” Jay Privman wrote of A.P. Indy’s start in the Jockey Club Gold Cup: “He nearly did a somersault coming out of the gate.”
Privman quoted Drysdale as saying: “He pulled his shoe off. His foot was shredded. It looked like someone had taken thick sandpaper and sanded off his foot. The walls were gone.”
According to Privman, Drysdale “called in a farrier, Joey Carroll, who rebuilt the foot, using an acrylic resin that dries out quickly and is hard and resilient. A.P. Indy then was sent to Florida to prepare for the Breeders’ Cup. From that point on, everything went smoothly.”
Even though A.P. Indy lost both the Molson Million and Jockey Club Gold Cup, it again needed to be remembered that he was in the hands of a masterful trainer whose goal was to have A.P. Indy at his peak in the BC Classic.
Favored at 2-1 in the field of 14, A.P. Indy and Delahoussaye won the BC Classic. Ninth with four furlongs left to run, A.P. Indy generated a sustained rally to win by two lengths.
When writing about the Classic in the Breeders’ Cup book, Privman mentioned A.P. Indy’s distinctive way of going.
“A.P. Indy, his head low to the ground, as if he was searching for a contact lens, knifed between horses on the final turn, then drew away, with his jockey, Eddie Delahoussay, never having to reach for the whip.”
Hirsch was effusive in his praise for Delahoussaye’s ride.
“Delahoussaye rode an outstanding race, easing A.P. Indy back on the first turn when caught in close quarters, then guiding him between horses up the backstretch,” Hirsch wrote. “He moved outside for racing room leaving the quarter pole, then drew even at the eighth pole with Defensive Play. Through the final furlong, Eddie D. resorted to a hand ride and appeared to have some gas left in the tank as A.P. Indy passed the winning post with a margin of two lengths over Pleasant Tap, one of the most consistent American horses in training.”
A.P. Indy was voted 1992 Eclipse Awards as champion 3-year-old male and, moreover, Horse of the Year. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000, seven years after Delahoussaye’s enshrinement.
Ironically, A.P. Indy, a $2.9 million yearling, earned $2.9 million ($2,927,815 to be exact) during his racing career. How many horses have you ever seen earn almost exactly the same amount of money on the track that they sold for at public auction?
A HUGE SUCCESS IN THE BREEDING SHED
After the 1992 BC Classic, Farish was asked if he felt that A.P. Indy had anything left to prove.
“I don’t think so,” Farish said in Ray Paulick’s BloodHorse recap of that year’s BC Classic. “He’s shown his brilliance and he’s done something that only the best 3-year-olds are able to do which is to beat the best older horses in the fall of the year in a classic confrontation.”
Never racing again after the BC Classic, A.P. Indy would become a marvelous sire and an important broodmare sire. He was the leading sire in 2003 and 2006. He was the leading broodmare sire in 2015.
From A.P. Indy’s very first crop came Grade I winner Pulpit, who would become a highly successful sire. One of the Pulpit’s offspring is the extraordinary sire Tapit. Another son of Pulpit, Lucky Pulpit, sired California Chrome, voted Horse of the Year in 2014 and 2016.
A.P. Indy sired these Eclipse Award winners:
--Tempera (2001 champion 2-year-old filly)
--Mineshaft (2003 Horse of the Year)
--Bernardini (2006 champion 3-year-old male)
--Rags to Riches (2007 champion 3-year-old filly when she won the Belmont Stakes; this is a filly I strongly believe belongs in the Hall of Fame)
--Honor Code (2015 champion older male)
Many were saddened when learning news of A.P. Indy’s death. It is safe to say that the impact on racing and breeding by this special equine athlete and superb sire was truly enormous.
RACING MOURNS DEATH OF TOMMY TROTTER
Tommy Trotter, a highly respected racing secretary and steward during a long career in the sport that lasted for 56 years, died last Sunday in Aventura, Fla., following a brief illness. He was 93.
It was during Trotter’s tenure as a racing secretary in New York that he was responsible for some of the most famous weight assignments in the history of American racing.
Trotter in 1970 piled 142 pounds on the diminutive filly Ta Wee for the final start of her career in the six-furlong Interborough Handicap at Belmont. Ta Wee won by three-quarters of a length.
Ta Wee was a half-sister to the great Dr. Fager. Trotter in 1969 asked Dr. Fager to carry 139 pounds in the Vosburgh Handicap at Aquduct. Dr. Fager won by six.
And then there was Forego and the 1 1/4-mile Marlboro Cup at Belmont in 1976. One of the all-time great geldings, Forego was voted Horse of the Year in 1974, 1975 and 1976.
Two weeks before the Marlboro Cup, Forego carried 135 pounds and won the 1 1/8-mile Woodward Handicap by 1 1/4 lengths.
After the Woodward, according to the book “Forego” written by Bill Heller, Forego’s trainer, Frank Whiteley, “did some posturing.” Forego would not be running in the Marlboro Cup, Whiteley announced, if Trotter gave him more than 135 pounds, the weight the big son of Forli had carried in the Woodward. Trotter knew that whenever the popular Forego raced, there typically would be a spike in attendance and handle. Whiteley knew it was unlikely Forego would get 135 again. But the trainer hoped that by asking for 135, perhaps Forego would go up only one pound to 136.
Trotter did not buckle to Whiteley’s public lobbying. Forego was assigned 137 pounds.
Forego spotted 18 pounds to champion Honest Pleasure and up to 28 pounds to his other nine Marlboro Cup foes.
The Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 1975, Honest Pleasure in 1976 took the Travers Stakes at Saratoga by four lengths prior to the Marlboro Cup. Earlier in 1976, Honest Pleasure finished second as the 2-5 favorite in the Kentucky Derby won by Bold Forbes.
The 1976 Marlboro Cup was contested on a sloppy track. Bill Shoemaker rode Forego, the 11-10 favorite. Honest Pleasure, with Craig Perret aboard, went off at 5-2.
At the top of the stretch, Honest Pleasure looked like he was a cinch to win the race. Not only did Honest Pleasure have a clear lead, it appeared Perret had a ton of horse under him. At the eighth pole, Forego was four lengths behind Honest Pleasure. Encumbered with 137 pounds, Forego seemed to have no chance of catching Honest Pleasure in the final furlong.
But Forego closed relentlessly and prevailed by a head.
Writer William H. Rudy called Forego’s victory “awesome” in his BloodHorse magazine recap.
“It was the essence of Thoroughbred racing -- a great horse, more heavily burdened than at any time in his career, straining to catch a younger horse who also was running the race of his life,” Rudy wrote.
In the American Racing Manual, Hirsch characterized Forego’s triumph as “an incredible performance by a magnificent horse, who had to overcome so much to win.”
Shoemaker’s weight for that race was 106 pounds, with all of his tack, including the heaviest saddle he could find. That meant 31 pounds of lead had to be added to the saddle for Forego to carry 137.
Years later, I asked Shoemaker about the 1976 Marlboro Cup. He told me that while he was waiting to be led into the winner’s circle on Forego, Whiteley walked up to them. Shoe told me what Whiteley said to him.
“Do me a favor, Shoe,” Whiteley said sotto voce. “We’re up to 137. So really play it up when you walk up to the scale with the saddle. Act like it’s really heavy.”
“Mr. Whiteley, I won’t have to play it up,” Shoemaker said to the trainer. “It IS really heavy!”
RETIRED TRAINER HENRY MORENO PASSES AWAY
The Southern California racing community has been saddened by the death of retired trainer Henry Moreno. He passed away last Sunday following a lengthy battle with dementia at an assisted living facility near Santa Anita in Sierra Madre, Calif. He was 90.
Born in Corona, Calif., Moreno began as a Quarter Horse trainer before switching to Thoroughbreds in the early 1960s. Thus, he helped pave the way for D. Wayne Lukas and Bob Baffert to later make that same transition.
Moreno trained such Thoroughbred graded stakes winners as Bastonera II, Jolouise II, Lite Light, Re Toss, Sam Who, Sangue, Timely Assertion and Tizna.
I first got to know Moreno at Hollywood Park when I had been promoted by the Daily Racing Form in the spring of 1981 to be a reporter/columnist on the Southern California circuit. In my many visits to the Moreno barn through the years, he was always friendly.
I know that Moreno was especially proud of the fact that Tizna holds the record for carrying the most weight by a filly or mare in the history of Santa Anita. Despite being burdened with 132 pounds, Tizna won the 1976 San Gorgonio Handicap (now the Robert J. Frankel Stakes). That’s not just the record for most weight ever carried to victory by a female Thoroughbred at the Great Race Place. It’s the record for the most weight ever carried by a filly or mare at Santa Anita, win or lose.
Waya was the only other filly or mare to carry more than 130 pounds at Santa Anita. She took the 1979 Santa Barbara Handicap while carrying 131 pounds.
Moreno was respected by his colleagues.
“Henry was a staple of Southern California racing,” said trainer John Sadler. “He was one of the men who built our game.”
KENTUCKY DERBY-WINNING JOCKEY RAY YORK DIES
Ray York, who at the age of 20 won the 1954 Kentucky Derby aboard Determine, died last Sunday from pneumonia at an extended care facility near Bakersfield, Calif. York was 86.
York retired as a jockey in 1992. He won 3,082 races. York then came out of retirement to ride one race at Santa Anita in 2000 at the age of 66 in order to achieve the feat of riding in a race in seven decades. Shortly after turning 16, he rode his first race late in 1949.
STRIKING A POSE PRODUCES IRONIC WIN MUTUEL
When Washington-bred Striking a Pose kicked off his racing career on Feb. 21 by winning a one-mile maiden special weight race at Santa Anita by three-quarters of a length, he paid $54.20 for each $2 win ticket.
Another Washington-bred, the diminutive Travel Orb, also returned $54.20 when he won the 1966 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park in a shocker. None other than Native Diver finished last in that race.
Travel Orb was inducted into the Washington Racing Hall of Fame in 2015.
Mark Glatt trains Striking a Pose, who is a half-brother to $631,011 earner Stryker Phd, a two-time winner of the biggest race in the Pacific Northwest, Emerald Downs’ Grade III Longacres Mile.
Stryker Phd won the Longacres Mile in 2014 and 2015. Glatt won last year’s Longacres Mile with Southern California shipper Law Abidin Citizen.
Larry Ross trained Stryker Phd, whose sire is Bertrando, a 1993 Eclipse Award winner as champion older male. Bertrando is a son of Skywalker, who in 1986 won the Longacres Mile at Longacres and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
Stryker Phd is living a life of leisure these days at Larry and Sharon Ross’ farm in Washington. Vince Bruun, the director of media relations at Emerald, told me that he recently visited the 11-year-old Stryker Phd at the farm.
“Stryker Phd is living the good life and loves rolling around in the mud,” said Bruun.
Todd and Shawn Hansen bred and own Striking a Pose.
DENNIS’ MOMENT TOPS FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
Highly regarded Dennis’ Moment makes his 2020 debut this Saturday in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/16-mile affair has attracted a field of 12.
Dennis’ Moment, trained by Dale Romans, has not started since he stumbled badly at the start and finished eighth as the 9-10 favorite in the Grade I BC Juvenile at Santa Anita last Nov. 1. The Kentucky-bred Tiznow colt has won two of four career starts. His first victory came when he won a seven-furlong maiden special weight race by 19 1/4 lengths at Ellis Park last year on July 27. He then was not fully extended at the Grade III level when he took the Grade III Iroquois Stakes by nearly two lengths at Churchill Downs on Sept. 14.
Chance It is my pick to win the Fountain of Youth despite drawing the disadvantageous 12 post. Trained by Saphie Joseph Jr., the Florida-bred Currency Swap colt has won four of six career starts. In his 2020 debut, Chance It won the one-mile Mucho Macho Man Stakes by a head as a 7-10 favorite when As Seen On Tv finished second. As Seen On Tv also is entered in the Fountain of Youth.
Gulfstream Park oddsmaker Jay Stone has pegged Dennis’ Moment as the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Chance It is 7-2. As Seen On Tv is 9-2.
Dennis’ Moment is ranked No. 4 on my current Kentucky Derby Top 10. How he fares in the Fountain of Youth obviously will determine whether he moves up, moves down or remains No. 4 next week.
Here is my Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week:
1. Tiz the Law
3. Thousand Words
4. Dennis’ Moment
5. Honor A.P.
9. Sole Volante
10. Storm the Court
THIS WEEK’S NTRA TOP THROUGHBRED POLL
Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)
1. 300 Mucho Gusto (16)
2. 287 Maximum Security (14)
3. 269 Midnight Bisou (5)
4. 209 McKinzie (4)
5. 148 Zulu Alpha
6. 112 Covfefe
7. 97 Code of Honor
8. 62 Firenze Fire
9. 51 Silver Dust
10. 40 Warrior’s Charge