08/23/2001 11:00PM

Nesky gets new owner started

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The crowd had thinned out considerably and those who were left were getting a little bleary-eyed by the end of Fasig-Tipton's four-hour evening sale of preferred yearlings at Saratoga Springs two weeks ago.

But trainer Ken Nesky wasn't prepared to leave until he accomplished what he had set out to do: buy a horse for Michael Heidenberg, a new client looking to become an owner.

Earlier in the auction, Nesky was outbid on a Mr. Greeley colt who went for $80,000. So when Hip No. 439 came into the ring, the third from last of the 128 yearlings offered, Nesky was ready to do business.

Nesky bought the New York-bred Boston Harbor colt, out of an Unbridled mare, for $25,000 and thus started Heidenberg on his way as an owner.

The colt was consigned to the sale by Tom and Nadine Gallo, who also acted as agent on the sale's topper, a Peaks and Valleys colt who brought $180,000.

Heidenberg, 55, was introduced to racing through a friend, Stephen Finch. When Heidenberg decided he wanted to become more than just a fan, Finch recommended he talk to Nesky, who trains New York-bred champion Shopping for Love and is one of the most affable trainers on the New York circuit.

"I've always enjoyed the races, and felt when I could I would like to get a horse, and that day has come," said Heidenberg, who lives in Long Island and is a real-estate developer of shopping centers.

"Kenny came with a high reputation for honesty," he added. "Also, it meant a lot that he had time for me when I told him that this was a first-time experience for me and I was anxious to learn from him."

Heidenberg said he was keen on purchasing a New York-bred because he liked what he knew of the state-bred program, which offers competitive purses as well as bonus money for owners who successfully race their New York-breds in open company.

"Buying a New York-bred seemed like an attractive way to enter the field," Heidenberg said, "and it was nice that an auction with New York-breds coincided with our interest."

Nesky said he will now turn his attention to finding Heidenberg a horse to claim so the new owner doesn't have to cool his jets waiting for the Boston Harbor colt to make it to the races.

In the meanwhile, Heidenberg's first purchase has been sent to Chime Bell Farm in Aiken, S.C., to be broken.

Come on get happy: Cassidy buys colt

Dr. Jerry Bilinski of Waldorf Farm hit a home run with a New York-bred colt he co-bred with Martin Zaretsky and Marc Roberts and sold at the preferred sale.

The End Sweep colt was one of the auction toppers, bringing $117,000, with Highclere Sales acting as agent on the sale. The buyer was singer David Cassidy, who said he has a 50 percent partner in the yearling but declined to reveal the person's name.

Bilinski bought the colt's dam, Dress, a half-sister to a Grade 1 producer, for $27,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company fall mixed sale in 1999, while she was in foal to End Sweep. The broodmare currently has a Personal Flag foal by her side and was bred back to Mighty Magee, who stands for $2,000 at Bilinski's Waldorf Farm in North Chatham, N.Y.

Cassidy, who has been buying, breeding, and racing horses for a couple of years, said he always has been a fan of End Sweep, a former Florida-based stallion now standing in Japan.

"This colt was an outstanding horse - I thought he was the best horse in the sale," said Cassidy, who looked at 50 horses at the sale.

o Belong to Me tops the list of sires of New York-breds by earnings this year, according to Bloodstock Research Information Services statistics. Belong to Me, who formerly stood in New York and now stands at Lane's End Farm in Kentucky, has $1,851,573 in progeny earnings from his New York-bred runners this year. Belong to Me is followed by New York sire Distinctive Pro, the late Cure the Blues, and Personal Flag, who also stands in the Empire State.

o Fans can now vote online for who they think will win New York-bred stakes races at www.nybreds.com.