10/13/2005 11:00PM

Empire State yearling prices strong

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Through the completion of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale on Oct. 5, the average price for New York-bred yearlings continues to increase at a healthy pace.

Thus far in 2005, 376 yearlings have brought $14,821,300 at auction, for an average price of $39,418 that is 12 percent higher than the comparable figures for 2004, when 405 yearlings grossed $14,259,300 for an average of $35,208.

At the three-day Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale, 74 New York-bred yearlings grossed $1,086,000 for an average of $14,675.

And at the Keeneland September sale, 59 statebreds brought $2,789,100 for an average of $47,273, an increase of nearly 17 percent on average over the 2004 sale, when 93 brought $3,763,100 for an average of $40,463.

Topping the New York contingent at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic was Hip No. 419, a son of City Zip out of the Java Gold mare Java Gal, consigned by Morgan's Ford Farm and purchased by trainer John H. Forbes for $130,000.

The colt is a half-brother to stakes-placed Java Warrior and his dam is a half-sister to the top-class New York-bred Allez Milord, winner of the Grade 1 Oak Tree Invitational and a multiple group stakes winner in Europe, from the family of English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky II.

A filly by sprint champion Orientate was purchased by Watching Park Stables for $70,000 from the consignment of Patricia Calandro as Hip No. 301. She is out of the D'Accord mare Final Accord and is a half-sister to Buy the Sport, winner of the Grade 1 Gazelle, and three more stakes winners from an outstanding state family that includes Warfie, winner of the Grade 2 Long Island Handicap, and Move It Now, winner of the Albany Handicap.

Another City Zip colt, Hip No. 672, from the consignment of James Layden, agent, fetched $60,000 from ELR Corporation. The colt is out of the Danzig Connection mare Pressingconnection, who is a half-sister to Boston Party, winner of the Grade 3 Queens County Handicap, and Man's Hero, winner of the Grade 3 Sport Page Handicap.

The first crop of New York sire Wheelaway, who stands at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbred Farm, continued to bring good prices at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic.

His yearlings did very well at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred sale in August, topped by a filly at $160,000.

A filly and a colt by Wheelaway each brought $50,000 at the Midlantic venue. The filly, selling as Hip No. 122, was purchased by Jay Em Ess Stable from the McMahon consignment as agent.

She is out of Black Bacardi, who is a half-sister to Kentucky Derby runner-up Invisible Ink and stakes-placed Inner Circle.

The colt, also consigned by McMahon, agent, as Hip No. 600, was purchased by Nancy Terhune, and is a half-brother to Judy Soda, who placed in the New York Stallion Stakes Park Avenue division.

Phone Trick a New Yorker at the end

The classy Phone Trick, an outstanding runner in the mid-1980's, died on Oct. 10 at age 23 at Milfer Farm in Unadilla, N.Y., where he had been since late 2001.

Phone Trick, by Clever Trick, won 9 of 10 career starts, including the San Carlos and Palos Verdes in California and the Bold Ruler and Sport Page in New York.

He sired Favorite Trick, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in 1997 and the first 2-year-old since Secretariat in 1972 to be Horse of the Year.

Phone Trick also sired champion filly Phone Chatter, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in 1993.

Other top performers among his 53 stakes winners are Caller One, winner of the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, and graded stakes winners Intidab, Mazel Trick, Zavata, Speed Dialer, and Caller I.D.

His progeny earnings exceed $48 million.

Phone Trick's first crop of New York-breds are 2-year-olds of 2005.

Gerrity leaves legacy

New York Thoroughbred breeding lost quite a sportsman when Joe Gerrity died on Oct. 10 at age 89.

Gerrity bred and owned several stakes winners, including Ora, Vodka, and John Harvard. At the recent Saratoga meeting, his 4-year-old Dave won the West Point Handicap on Aug. 14, after winning an allowance race at the Spa on Aug. 10.

Gerrity bred Standardbred and Thoroughbred horses at his Little Farm near Albany. He was board chairman of Saratoga Gaming and Raceway since 1987, and a strong supporter of that facility's video lottery terminal program that opened in January 2004. He also served as a director of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York for 20 years.