08/15/2001 11:00PM

Notebooks give Tortora tough entry


MIAMI - Leadership in the local sprint division will be up for grabs when a field of nine older runners go six furlongs in Saturday's $60,000 Groomstick Handicap.

Trainer Manny Tortora appears to hold the upper hand heading into the Groomstick, sending out Fappie's Notebook and Alice's Notebook as an uncoupled entry.

Fappie's Notebook appeared headed for stardom after finishing second to Caller One in the 2000 Carry Back Stakes and winning a third-level allowance race at Saratoga last summer. But the injury-plagued colt has made just four starts since his victory at the Spa one year ago and will make his first appearance in the Groomstick since stretching out to register a game victory in Hialeah's Seminole Handicap on April 15.

Earlier this season, Fappie's Notebook, a son of Notebook and Miss Fappiano, was second, beaten a half-length by Istintaj, in Gulfstream Park's Grade 3 Deputy Minister Handicap.

Fappie's Notebook has trained well for his return and always runs well fresh.

Alice's Notebook has made just three starts this season, sandwiching a pair of allowance wins around a fourth-place finish. Last year, he was a three-time allowance winner over the local strip and finished second in the Kenny Noe and Rexson Hope handicaps and third in the rich Smile Sprint Handicap.

Horacio Karamanos replaces Sebastian Madrid aboard Alice's Notebook, with Madrid opting instead to ride Fappie's Notebook for Tortora in the Groomstick.

While Tortora's Notebooks appear to be the horses to beat in the Groomstick, the co-highweights are Callie and Jake and B L's Appeal, each of whom carry 118 pounds. Both were upset in their last starts by the 3-year-old Built Up, finishing second and fifth in the My Luke's Reason Handicap at seven furlongs.

Callie and Jake won the Ponche Handicap earlier in the meet while B L's Appeal, winner of Gulfstream's Grade 3 Spectacular Bid Stakes at 3, captured a pair of allowance races here in June.