01/16/2002 12:00AM

Big Spruce euthanized at 32

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Big Spruce, Grade 1 winner and sire of 42 stakes-winners, was euthanized on Dec. 28, 2001, in Lexington because of the infirmities of old age, Graham Beck's Gainesway Farm announced Monday.

The 32-year-old horse had been pensioned from stud duty at Gainesway since 1997.

Big Spruce won three Grade 1 races - the Marlboro Cup, in which he defeated three-time Horse of the Year Forego; the San Luis Rey; and the Governor's Stakes - and earned $673,117 during his racing career.

A son of Herbager out of the Prince John mare Silver Sari, Big Spruce sired more than 300 winners. From 22 crops to race, Big Spruce has sired the earners of more than $18 million to date.

His best runners included Grade 1 Charles H. Strub Stakes winner and millionaire Super Moment; Grade 1 United Nations Handicap winner Acaroid; Grade 1 Hempstead Handicap winner Catatonic; Grade 1 Arlington Handicap winner Spruce Needles; Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby winner Splendid Spruce; and Austrian champion Rubico.