Updated on 09/17/2011 12:07PM

Golden Apples hurt, retired


DEL MAR, Calif. - Golden Apples, the 2002 champion turf female, was retired on Saturday after she was found to have suffered a suspensory injury to her left foreleg, trainer Ben Cecil said.

Cecil speculated that the injury occurred in Golden Apples' lone start this year, a second-place finish in the Grade 1 John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar on July 26. In that race, she was part of a three-way dead-heat for second, finishing a half-length behind Megahertz.

The injury was detected on Saturday, a day after Golden Apples resumed serious exercise, Cecil said.

"We found it this morning," Cecil said late Saturday morning. "She galloped for the first time since the race on Friday and we scanned it. She ran well the other day, and my gut feeling is it happened in that race. Friday was the first time that she'd done anything other than jog."

In a three-season career that included five stakes wins, Golden Apples won 6 of 16 starts and $1,672,546. Bred in Ireland, Golden Apples was stakes-placed there for trainer David Hanley in the summer of 2001 before being acquired privately by London financier Gary Tanaka.

Golden Apples was sent to Cecil in August 2001 and won her debut for his stable in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks at 21-1.

Later that year against older fillies and mares, she won the Grade 2 Las Palmas Handicap at Santa Anita and finished third in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park.

In 2002, Golden Apples had her best season, winning 3 of 7 starts and earning $1,111,680. She essentially clinched her championship with two victories in Grade 1 races in the second half of the year - the Beverly D. at Arlington Park and the Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita.

Sent off favored in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Arlington Park last October, she rallied from 11th to finish fourth, losing by two lengths to Starine.

Golden Apples finished the season with a narrow loss to Dress to Thrill in the Matriarch Stakes. A few weeks later, Golden Apples underwent surgery to have bone chips removed from her ankles.

The Mabee Handicap in July was seen as the start of a campaign that Tanaka and Cecil hoped would lead to the Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita in October.

"This was going to be our year," Cecil said. "I don't have many horses, and to lose her is very hard. She will be very hard to replace."