Sorrow ripped through the horse racing community like a storm on Feb. 21st, 2020. Lane’s End Farm had announced that the grand old A.P. Indy had taken his final breaths and the sport immediately went into a state of mourning.
A.P. Indy was a legend in our sport, one of those horses who carried horse racing’s history upon his withers. In his 31 years of life, he had been named a Champion on both the racetrack and at stud. He had helped to shape the breed; his sons and daughters had followed in his footsteps to make waves on both the track and in the breeding shed.
Understandably, his death was devastating. It was so fitting when his grandson Honor A.P., named in remembrance of the old stallion, ran second in his graded stakes debut less than a month after the great stallion's death. It wasn’t a victory, but it had put Honor A.P. on track to get to the Kentucky Derby, a race neither his grandsire or sire had the chance to win. A.P. Indy had scratched the morning of the 1992 Kentucky Derby and an injury took Honor Code off the trail in 2014.
Honor A.P. was as perfect as they come from the moment he was born at Starwood Farm. His flashy looks and incredible disposition made him stand out as a foal. Plus he was willing to please, a trait that would get him far as a racehorse.
He made his debut for his trainer John Sheriffs on Aug. 17th at Del Mar, charging from last to get up for second place. He broke his maiden in his next start and seemed well on his way to becoming a star racehorse.
After recovering from a minor setback, Honor A.P. made his graded stakes debut in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) in March of 2020. Though he didn’t win, he had closed beautifully towards pacesetter Authentic. Those who hadn’t been following Honor A.P. yet certainly had their eyes on him after that race. He seemed like a horse who would absolutely love running at longer distances, which is crucial for horses wanting to win a Classic like the Kentucky Derby.
Honor A.P. made his next start in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in June. He was again lining up to face Authentic, so horseplayers made him the second-choice behind his rival. This time, Honor A.P. got the best of Authentic — he charged down the stretch to a 2 ¾ length victory. Now it was certain that he was going to the Kentucky Derby.
This handsome horse is making his final start before the Kentucky Derby in the Shared Belief Stakes on Saturday, Aug. 1st. He towers over his competition in this race and is expected to win easily. If all goes as planned, he will soon be packing up and making the long trip from California to Kentucky to run for the roses.
Honor A.P. is going to have some stiff competition in the Kentucky Derby. There will be many good horses in the field who he has never raced against before, including the Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law. Regardless, it would be beautiful to see Honor A.P. cross the wire first on the First Saturday in September. Great stories are what make people fall in love with sports. If Honor A.P. is to win the Kentucky Derby with a name so obviously nodding to one of our sport's all-time greats, it would surely be a tear-jerking moment in history.
[Video: Watch Honor A.P. (#6) win the Santa Anita Derby]
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