11/19/2010 11:29AM

Applebite Farms will close its operation


Applebite Farms in French Camp, Calif., is closing this winter, former farm manager Duane Griffith said Thursday.

Griffith said he is in the process of overseeing the liquidation of the farm’s property and relocating approximately 100 horses on the grounds on behalf of owner Joan Rogers, a retired attorney from Santa Clara, Calif.

Griffith said that approximately 30 horses owned by Applebite, including the stallion Gotham City, will be offered in a dispersal at the Barretts January mixed sale in Pomona, Calif.

“We’re going to shut it down at the end of January, after the Barretts sale,” Griffith said.

He said that Rogers “is not able to spend as much time as she’d like” at Applebite.

“The economy is not the best in the world, the market is not the best in the world in California,” he said.

Applebite’s stallions in 2010 included E Z Warrior, Gotham City, and Western Fame. Rogers will retain ownership of Western Fame, but plans have not been finalized on where he will be relocated, Griffith said. He said no determination has been made on where E Z Warrior will be moved.

The farm also arranged to stand Bold Chieftain in 2011, but that horse has since returned to trainer William Morey’s stable at Golden Gate Fields.

The closure of Applebite is a blow to California’s struggling Thoroughbred breeding industry, which has seen a reduction in the number of horses bred in recent years because of a declining economy and high costs faced by farm owners.

Applebite’s property will be sold, Griffith said.

“The family has owned it since 1936,” Griffith said.

He said the property was originally a diary farm and was leased out as a Thoroughbred operation before Rogers became actively involved in 1994. Of the 100 horses currently on the grounds, there are “60 or 70” that are boarders, Griffith said.

Rogers is an owner and breeder. She bred the stakes winner Lusty Latin, who finished 15th in the 2002 Kentucky Derby, and Triumphant Flight, a stakes winner at Fairplex Park and Santa Anita in 2008 and 2009.