A. P. Indian just holds in Belmont Sprint Championship
A. P. Indian took up a spot just off the rail and behind pacesetter Private Zone through the opening half-mile in :22.66 and :45.33. Green Gratto and Marking were to his outside, helping keep pressure on the 6-5 favorite.
Private Zone, who was last seen running fifth in the November 28 Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct, began fading rounding the turn and Marking was the first to pounce on the outside. Bravo kept A. P. Indian down on the rail and the duo were well-placed to slide through as Private Zone floated well off the inside.
A. P. Indian quickly took command in the lane and drifted out quite a bit himself as Marking came running up to his outside. The six-year-old bay dug deep to repel that challenge and complete seven furlongs on Belmont Park’s fast main track in 1:21.41.
A. P. Indian paid $13.80 as the near 6-1 fourth choice in the seven-horse field. Marking was best of the rest, 4 1/4 lengths up on Ready for Rye, who rallied to be 1 1/2 lengths in front of Private Zone. Green Gratto came next and was followed under the wire by Nubin Ridge and Roxbury n Overton. Anchor Down and Joking were scratched.
A. P. Indian captured his stakes debut in the Decathlon Stakes at Monmouth Park in May 2015 and followed up by scoring in the Donald LeVine Memorial Stakes at Parx Racing one month later. He defended his titles in both contests to open the year, though the Decathlon win came via disqualification, and is now 8-4-0 from 14 starts. He’s banked $527,434 in his career.
The Kentucky-bred gelding is out of multiple Grade 2-placed stakes winner Ender’s Game, who is by A.P. Indy. That mare is a full sister to fellow multiple Grade 2-placed stakes heroine Ender’s Shadow.
A. P. Indian, himself a half-brother to last year’s Indiana Derby (G2) winner Tiz Shea D, counts as his third dam multiple Grade 2-scoring millionaire Fit for a Queen. This is the same female family as breed-shaping sire Nearctic.
A. P. Indian photo courtesy of NYRA/Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography
BELMONT SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP QUOTES
Joe Bravo, jockey A. P. Indian, winner: "Horses like this make our job so easy. He breaks from the gate with control, relaxes, turns off and breathes underneath me so comfortably that all you have to know is when to pull the trigger. He really opened up beautifully turning for home and made me look good."
Arnaud Delacour, trainer A. P. Indian, winner: "We thought about coming to run in this race last year but he ran into some minor issues and we couldn't make it. He's come back very well this year. I usually leave the options open to the rider and Joe did a great job keeping him covered up and he extended away in the stretch."