09/26/2003 12:00AM

Live-foal numbers on rise


ELMONT, N.Y. - The news was good for the New York breeding industry when The Jockey Club released its breeding statistics for 2002 recently.

New York stallions experienced a nearly 11 percent increase in the number of live-foal reports from last year to this year. In 2002, through Sept. 8, there were 1,317 live-foal reports sent to The Jockey Club on New York sires, compared to this year's 1,459 for the same time period.

The Jockey Club indicated that the reporting on these statistics is about 90 percent complete.

New York's increase was higher than the increases registered by Kentucky, Florida, and Maryland, states that were ranked in the top 10 along with New York in breeding activity last year.

Leading the list of New York sires with the most covers (121) in 2002 was Grade 1 winner City Zip, who stands at Contemporary in Coxsackie. City Zip, whose first foals arrived this year, had 56 live foals through Sept. 8, according to The Jockey Club's figures. City Zip stood for a fee of $7,500 for his first two years at stud.

Western Expression, whose first foals are yearlings this year, was represented by the most foals (75) among New York stallions. Western Expression's 2002 and 2003 stud fee was $10,000.

Other high-ranking New York sires were Phone Trick (Milfer Farm), with 55 foals; A. P Jet (Sugar Maple Farm), with 54; Precise End (Lakland North), with 52; and Rodeo (Contemporary), with 44.

At $25,000, Phone Trick commanded the highest stud fee in New York this year.

Fourstardave documentary complete

Fourstardave, one of the most successful New York-breds of all time, is the subject of a documentary produced and written by Jim Murello.

The 30-minute film, "Along Came Fourstardave," took Murello five years to complete, mainly because he held a full-time job during the film's production. Murello, who also has made educational documentaries, came up with the idea to make Fourstardave a subject of a film when he worked at American Turf Monthly, a magazine published by Fourstardave's owner and breeder, Richard Bomze.

Murello's film, which was narrated by Terry Bowden, a college football analyst for ABC Sports, focuses on Fourstardave's amazing success at Saratoga, where he won a race for eight consecutive years.

Murello, 38, said, "I thought it was a great story and unlike other sports documentaries that have featured people."

During the Saratoga meet, Murello had a screening for Fourstardave's connections and Dennis Brida, the executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. A couple of weeks ago, Murello gathered friends and family to view the film at a club on Long Island.

Murello is trying to gain exposure with "Along Came Fourstardave" by submitting the documentary to film festivals, and hopes one day to sell it for commercial use.

Fourstardave, a multiple statebred champion with $1.6 million in career earnings, died in October 2002 of a heart attack. He was 17. A son of the New York stallion Compliance, Fourstardave was retired in 1995 after making his 100th start.

* The NYTB will host a farm tour on Oct. 5. The three farms on the coach bus tour are Sugar Maple, owned by Howard Kaskel, in Poughquag; Stonewall, Barry Schwartz's farm in Granite Springs; and Jerry and Joanne Nielsen's Summerfield in Bedford. The cost of the tour is $20 and includes lunch at Summerfield.

* The NYTB will hold its fall dinner meeting on Oct. 10 at the Wishing Well Restaurant in Gansevoort, outside of Saratoga Springs. Dr. Sara Ralston from the department of Animal Science at Cook College in New Brunswick, N.J., is the guest speaker. Ralston will discuss equine nutrition. For more information on the farm tour and dinner meeting, contact the NYTB's offices at (518) 587-0777.