08/10/2001 12:00AM

Here's where to buy N.Y.-breds

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If you're in the market for a New York-bred, Fasig-Tipton's preferred sale of yearlings Sunday at 7 p.m. in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. is the place to go.

Of the 141 hip numbers in the catalog, 132 are registered New York-breds.

Last year, 82 of the 125 horses to go through the ring sold for a total of $3,420,700, a jump from $2,793,500 for the 77 sold out of 107 offered in 1999. Last year's average was $41,716, up from $36,279.

Before the preferred sale debuted in 1989, New York-breds were relegated to a smaller sale held on a Tuesday during the day.

That sale didn't come close in terms of the quality buyers find today, according to Jeff Minton, a longtime consignor of New York-breds. Minton, who formerly worked as field director for the New York Breeding and Development Fund Corp. and then for Fasig-Tipton soliciting consignors to the preferred sale, said buying New York-breds has become more popular in part because of the financial appeal connected to owning them.

New York's statebred program is praised by many as being the best in the country because of its lucrative bonus money - on top of purses - earmarked for owners, breeders, and stallion owners.

"The sale is a direct result of the success of the New York-bred program," Minton said. "With breeder awards so strong and purses so strong, people want to have a New York-bred because the pots are great. For the most part, the animosity toward New York-breds has changed."

Yearlings by fashionable sires such as Cryptoclearance, Dixie Brass, Dynaformer, Maria's Mon, and Unbridled's Song are in this year's sale.

Among the notable hip numbers is a half-sister to New York-bred champion and multiple stakes winner Pentatonic; a half-brother to statebred champion and multiple stakes winner Shopping for Love; and a filly whose dam, Biogio's Girl, is a half-sister to New York-bred champion Biogio's Rose, a winner of nearly $800,000.

Minton has only consigned six yearlings to the sale, half the number he offered last year. He said the decrease was by design and reflects his concern with the uncertainty of today's economy.

"I usually have more, but I planned it that way," Minton said. "I was worried about the [financial] markets in general. Available money to buy horses is limited. I wanted to come with proven sires, popular horses with pretty good conformation. I'm pleased with what I have. I think horses with better pedigrees and better conformation will be all right; marginal horses will be hurt, I think."

Three of the horses consigned to the sale by Minton are for his longtime client Patricia S. Purdy. One of those yearlings, Hip No. 381, is by Southern Halo, a former leading sire in Argentina, and the sire of Grade 1 winner More Than Ready. The colt is out of the unraced Majestic Light mare Luminous, who has produced two other foals who are unraced.

Harry Landry, a consignor for 32 years and a regular at the preferred sale, has seven yearlings this year. He would have had eight, but a Jules filly, Hip No. 408, was pulled from the auction when she colicked.

Landry said he is high on his Mr. Greeley filly, Hip No. 424, whose dam, Shotanabeer, is a half to Eclipse Award winning sprinter Kona Gold.

"She is a nicely balanced, a good-looking filly," said Landry, who in the early 1990's acted as agent on the sale of Saratoga Dew, the first and only New York-bred to win an Eclipse Award. "A lot of people have told me they are interested in seeing her."

Landry had high hopes for a Formal Gold colt, Hip No. 419, he is selling, but said it's likely the yearling will bring less than he had anticipated because of a stall mishap that he was involved in a month ago.

"It's cosmetic; he scrapped his hide and skin near his ankle when he kicked his foot through the stall door," Landry said. "Luckily, he just stood there with his foot in the door. There's no fracture; it's just superficial. But even cosmetics hurt you. It could hurt the price by $25,000 to $30,000."

* The nine New York-breds sold at Fasig-Tipton's select sale in Saratoga last week brought $1,954,998 - for an average of $217,222. Last year, five statebreds sold for $1,832,000, including a $1.25 million Silver Deputy filly, who helped lift the average to $366,400.

This year's New York-bred sales-topper was a $475,000 Dixieland Band filly, the property of Akindale Farm, with Eaton Sales acting as agent. Padua Stables, who bought the four highest-priced New York-breds at the sale for a total of $1,375,000, was the purchaser.