Richard Masson's homebred A. P. Indian had to be very tough in Friday's Grade 2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix, as he was shuffled back along the inside around the far turn, angled out at the head of the lane and caught pressure from a very game Limousine Liberal late in the race. At the wire, A. P. Indian and jockey Joe Bravo prevailed by a nose to record a new Keeneland record time for six furlongs over the fast main track in 1:08.43. Trained by Arnaud Delacour, the win was the sixth in a row for the 6-year-old son of Indian Charlie, and earns him an all fees-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Sprint next month at Santa Anita.
“I was worried since the three-eighths pole when he got shuffled back,” Delacour admitted. “I knew it was going to be tough to make up ground. The horse who finished second (Limousine Liberal) has a great performance on this track; he likes this track. So I knew it was going to be tough to get it done. He did a great job.”
A. P. Indian broke very sharply from his inner position in the starting gates, but so did The Great War along the outside. The Great War went on to lead by a half-length through the first quarter mile in :22.35, as Alsvid, Cinco Charlie and Limousine Liberal jockeyed for position along the outside. Limousine Liberal had been fifth, but shifted out three-wide in the start of the turn to move toward The Great War. Cinco Charlie was the first to shorten the gap on The Great War, but Limousine Liberal overtook the margin and was head and head with the leader turning for home after a half-mile in :44.94.
Meanwhile, A. P. Indian had been shuffled back to fourth along the inside rail. Bravo swung the gelding wide at the top of the lane to find a path around the tiring The Great War and mount his challenge on Limousine Liberal. A. P. Indian steadily drew even with the leading Limousine Liberal and got past him by a head, but Limousine Liberal was very game and challenged back to make the final margin nearly indiscernible at the wire. A photo finish declared A. P. Indian the winner by the narrowest of noses, with Limousine Liberal a very strong second in track-record time. Ami's Flatter closed in to be third, and Alsvid was fourth.
“The whole Delacour team did a tremendous job of bringing him around,” Bravo said. “To be six years old and still doing it like a champion and to break a track record today, hey, I take my hat off to him. The horse that run second, Limousine Liberal, that's a runner. Wasn't like we were out there against nothing. (A. P. Indian) showed his true colors today.”
Bred in Kentucky by his owner's Green Lantern Stable, A. P. Indian is out of a multiple graded stakes-placed daughter of A.P. Indy named Ender's Sister. This year, A. P. Indian has recorded a perfect six wins from six starts, including Grade 1 wins in the Vanderbilt and the Forego at Saratoga. He will head to the Breeders' Cup Sprint with his perfect year's record intact, and an overall record of 11 wins from 17 starts with earnings of over $1.2 million.
Watch the race replay here:
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