NEW YORK – The smell of horses and hay permeated the galleries at Christie’s in Manhattan Friday as potential bidders previewed items including the preserved remains of movie cowboy Roy Rogers’ famous horse Trigger.

The auction house is selling items from the closed Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Mo., next Wednesday and Thursday.

Unlike the fine furniture, paintings and jewelry that Christie’s is famous for, the centerpiece of this auction is a stuffed and mounted horse rearing on its hind legs. It also will feature another type of horsepower — Rogers’ 1964 Bonneville convertible adorned with collectible silver dollars, its door handles and gear shift replaced by silver-plated pistols.

Other items for sale include the preserved remains of Rogers’ dog, Bullet, and about 60 pairs of cowboy boots.

Michel Bettigole, 70, a prospective buyer who attended the preview, called Rogers one of his heroes and said he grew up watching him chase down bandits on the big screen.

“But there was never any violence,” he said. “He always shot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand. It was good morals.”

Hundreds of items will be offered for sale, many of them with estimated prices in the low hundreds. Hand-drawn music for the theme song “Happy Trails” has a pre-sale estimate of $300 to $500. So does a grouping of two Rogers’ guitars.

Christie’s has been overwhelmed with calls from everyone from museum representatives to Roy Rogers fans who wanted a piece of the King of the Cowboys, said Linda Kohn-Sherwood, who is helping oversee the sale. Part of Rogers’ appeal was his charitable image outside the studio. He and Evans adopted several children and started a foundation for children in need.

“They were the Brad and Angelina of the time,” Kohn-Sherwood said.

Website posts recording of Gibson using racial slur

LOS ANGELES – Mel Gibson is heard using a racial epithet and berating his ex-girlfriend in a recording released by a celebrity news website Friday.

The two-minute recording posted by RadarOnline.com includes segments in which a voice sounding distinctively like the Academy Award-winner is heard telling his then-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, that she is dressing too provocatively and that it would be her fault if she were raped. The recording is laced with his profanity.

Grigorieva recorded the actor-director because she was afraid he might harm her, the website reported.

Alan Nierob, a spokesman for Gibson, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

It is unclear when the recording was made or in what context.

The recording has shades of another scandal for Gibson — his use of anti-Semitic and sexist remarks during a drunken driving arrest in 2006. The actor-director later apologized for the statements, which were included in a report by a sheriff’s deputy who arrested Gibson that was obtained by celebrity website TMZ.

The former couple have been locked in a bitter custody dispute in Los Angeles. Grigorieva has accused Gibson of domestic violence, and sheriff’s officials have launched an investigation.

Website founder David Perel said it has verified it is Gibson on the recording.

Boyle seeks singing partner

LONDON – She dreamed a dream, and now Susan Boyle says she wants to make someone else’s dream come true.

The Scottish singer is searching for an unknown to duet with her on her upcoming album, “The Gift.”

Aspirants can upload videos of themselves singing “Silent Night” to Boyle’s website (www.susanboylemusic.com) and her YouTube channel. The competition closes July 23, with a winner announced July 26.

Boyle, 49, became an overnight sensation last year after her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” on the TV show “Britain’s Got Talent” was viewed millions of times on the Internet.