08/04/2003 11:00PM

Golden Apples to be sold at Keeneland

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Last year's champion turf mare Golden Apples will sell this year at Keeneland's November breeding stock auction. A 5-year-old Pivotal mare, Golden Apples was retired last week after injuring her left front suspensory ligament in the Grade 1 John C. Mabee Handicap, in which she finished second behind Megahertz in a three-way dead heat.

Owned by Gary Tanaka, Golden Apples will sell as part of Taylor Made's consignment.

"He's been breeding his mares and then putting them in the sale," Taylor Made's Duncan Taylor said of Tanaka, a regular Taylor Made client. "But the timing of her retirement makes her even more highly sought-after now, so he decided to go on and put her in the November sale.

"I'm sure Mr. Tanaka has heard from people wanting to buy her privately," he added. "The advantage of an auction is that you've got all the wealthy people in the world focused on buying horses. And if you've got a champion, especially one like her with a great outcross pedigree, that will be one everybody's looking at."

Golden Apples won two Grade 1 races last year - the Beverly D. and Yellow Ribbon Stakes - en route to the division title. She also won the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks two years ago at 3. Trained by Ben Cecil, she retired with earnings of more than $1.6 million. The Mabee Handicap was her only start this season.

Golden Apples is a daughter of the French-bred mare Loon and is a half-sister to stakes winners La Piaf and Alexander Three D.

Notebook dies of stomach rupture

Notebook, Florida's second-leading general sire, died Aug. 4 in Ocala, Fla., after rupturing his stomach. The Well Decorated stallion was 18 and stood at Mike O'Farrell's Ocala Stud Farms.

Notebook's best foals include Spoken Fur, who won this year's CCA Oaks and Mother Goose Stakes and could win a $2 million bonus if she also wins the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 16. Notebook also is the sire of Grade 1 winners Delaware Township, Booklet, and Three Ring. He currently is Florida's second-leading sire by progeny earnings on the state's general sire list with more than $2.2 million in earnings. Another Ocala Stud Farm stallion, Montbrook, leads that list with just over $2.5 million.

A farm official said Tuesday that Notebook appeared to get sick while in his paddock Monday morning, prompting farm staff to call several veterinarians. The veterinarians advised that the horse be shipped to a local veterinary hospital, where surgery was to take place. But surgeons found that an abscess in Notebook's stomach had ruptured, making surgical repair too difficult to attempt, and they euthanized Notebook while he was under anesthesia.

Notebook, a New York-bred son of the Tom Rolfe mare Mobcap, won seven stakes during a three-season career. Among them were the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in 1987, the Grade 3 Best Turn Stakes in 1988, and a pair of $100,000 races in New York, the 1987 Bertram Bongard and the 1988 Mike Lee Handicap. He also finished second in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, both in 1988. Notebook retired from the track with total earnings of $584,630 and a record of 21-8-1-4.

Collier succeeds Stuart at TRF

There has been a changing of the guard at Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, which hosted its annual Saratoga fundraiser Monday night. John Stuart, the organization's president since 1999, has stepped down from that position and will be succeeded by Fasig-Tipton director of marketing Terence Collier, who also manages Fasig-Tipton's Blue Horse Charities.

Under Stuart, the TRF received a $5 million endowment from the late Paul Mellon's estate and announced the development of two new adoption sites for retired racehorses, one at the Kentucky Horse Park and the other at the renovated Montpelier estate in Virginia.

Monday's fundraiser at Saratoga was the most successful in the organization's history, Stuart said. More than $400,000 was received from a live auction that included stallion season options and "experiences" such as walk-on parts in popular TV shows.

Etc. . . .

CloverLeaf Farms II in Reddick, Fla., has two new stallions for its 2004 roster. Flame Thrower (Saint Ballado-Metromane, by Metrogrand) and Classic Cat (Mountain Cat-Sahsie, by Forli) have both relocated from Stoneriggs Farm. Their fees will be announced at a later date. . . . Catalogs for the Tattersalls Houghton sale on Oct. 1-2 in Newmarket, England, are available online at www.tattersalls.com. The catalog consists of 165 yearlings, including full or half-siblings to 21 classic or Group 1 winners.