01/11/2002 1:00AM

Yearlings head south to sell

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McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds will bring an 11-horse consignment to Ocala, Fla., for Monday and Tuesday's Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's winter mixed sale.

Five New York-bred yearlings are part of the consignment, including four by Victory Gallop - two colts and two fillies. McMahon has also consigned a Personal Flag filly to the sale.

Farm owner Joe McMahon said he was encouraged by the response to New York-breds in December at Fasig-Tipton's mixed sale at Timonium in Maryland, and hopes the interest has carried over to 2002.

"I did well with the weanlings at Timonium, which was a pleasant surprise," McMahon said. "There seems to be a very strong desire to buy New York-breds."

N.Y.-bred notes

o Affirm Promise, an Affirmed mare owned by Chester Broman, dropped a Giant's Causeway New York-bred filly on Tuesday at Broman's Chestertown Farm. The filly is believed to be the first foal by Giant's Causeway, who stood in Ireland last year, to be born in the United States.

Affirm Promise was recently purchased by Broman from bloodstock agent Jeff Minton for an undisclosed price.

o Private Emblem became the first New York-bred open stakes winner of 2002 with his win in the $75,000 Black Gold Handicap at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 4.

Private Emblem, a son of Our Emblem-Merion Miss, by Halo, is half-brother to the stakes-placed Rhum, a winner of $111,934. Dr. Doug Koch's Berkshire Stud and Oak Cliff Stable bred Private Emblem. His current owners, James Cassels and Bob Zollars, purchased the 3-year-old for $35,000 at the 2000 Keeneland September yearling sale.

o Nominations to the Big Apple Triple will close next Saturday. Cost to nominate to the three-race series for 3-year-old New York-breds is $200. There is no late closing fee. A $5,000 supplemental fee per race is required if a horse isn't nominated to the series.

Horses nominated to the series will receive preference to all 3-year-old male overnight races for New York-breds, beginning Feb. 1 and concluding with the final race in the series, the Albany in August.

The Big Apple Triple begins with the $100,000 Mike Lee at seven furlongs at Belmont Park on June 29. The middle leg, the $125,000 New York Derby at a 1 1/16 miles, will be run at Finger Lakes on July 27. The anchor race is the $150,000 Albany, a 1 1/8-mile race at Saratoga on Aug. 12.

The Big Apple Triple offers a $250,000 bonus to the owner of a horse who can sweep the series.

Horsemen can nominate to the series online at www.nybreds.com or by calling the New York Racing Association's stakes coordinator, Andrew Byrnes, at (718) 641-4700.

o Three yearlings foaled in New York sold for a total of $27,000 at last week's horses of all ages sale at Keeneland. One New York yearling consigned to the sale, an Incurable Optimist colt, did not meet his reserve price and was not sold. A Tomorrows Cat colt was withdrawn from the sale.

Another Tomorrows Cat colt, consigned by Glennwood Farm Inc., was bought for $15,500, the top price for a New York yearling at the sale, by Buzz Chace, agent.

o Fans can vote online at www.nybreds.com to predict the 2001 New York-bred divisional winners through Feb. 5. The entrants selecting the most winners in the nine divisions win an afternoon for four at Saratoga Race Course, including box seats. Divisional winners are chosen by the New York turf writers.

The winners of the online contest will be announced on March 27.

o The next bi-monthly breeders' meeting hosted by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. is scheduled for Jan. 22 at Red's Restaurant in Coxsackie, N.Y. The topic is foaling, and Jim Scott of Liberty Stud and Dr. Jerry Bilinski, a veterinarian, will lead the discussion.