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Full-Court Press For NA Cup Prospect

Published: March 7, 2018 12:12 pm ET

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On a cool evening in late January, it took less than two minutes for a relatively unknown North America Cup eligible to become the focus of many eager racehorse owners across the continent.

Suffice it to say, the James MacDonald-driven Larrys Petrock put himself on the map with his flashy 1:54 performance over Woodbine Racetrack on January 25. Now, roughly six weeks later, Adriano Sorella has got his man.

After ongoing negotiations, Sorella has explained to Trot Insider that he has landed the three-year-old son of Pet Rock. The Milton, Ont. resident has teamed with Ancaster’s Dave Lumsden to acquire the gelded bay. Is the duo excited? You bet.

Larrys Petrock qualified five times last year at two, but didn’t face the gate for a pari-mutuel test in his freshman campaign. You wouldn’t have known it, though, given the way he snapped necks in his career debut over the suburban Toronto oval.

“I kind of came across him by accident,” Sorella told Trot Insider. “I was watching his January 25th race at Woodbine and was particularly watching McKinley on the lead. I just saw this horse (Larrys Petrock) come by with a great rush. All I kept asking myself was ‘who is that?!?’ We’re only talking about a (1:) 54 mile, but it was just the way in which he did it.”

“I didn’t waste any time in texting my agent, Marc Reynolds, and asked him if he knew anything about the horse. He told me that people had already asked him the exact same question.

“It’s no secret that people are looking for horses right now, especially live horses with upside, so I knew that if I wanted to get him it would take some real effort. I know that the Tuckers (Larrys Petrock was a homebred of Montreal’s Gerrie Tucker) received a lot of interest in the horse in the days after that initial race, and understandably so.”

Realizing the opportunity that was in front of them, the Tuckers took a step back to assess what they had in Larrys Petrock – all while the phone was going crazy, of course. In the meantime, Larrys Petrock was back in to go at Woodbine once again (on February 15). Although his mile that night was not as dramatic as his debut, he still impressed quite a bit while racing overland. The verdict was a two-length score, timed in 1:54 yet again.

“I kept up with the inquiries after his second race,” Sorella said. “I’m certain that the interest from a lot of the buyers was still there as well. It was about a week and a half ago when I decided to partner with Dave Lumsden in an attempt to acquire the horse.”

Without delving into the minutia of what it took to seal the deal, it can be said that Sorella invested quite a bit of time and effort – and money – to land Larrys Petrock.

“The Tuckers have kept a piece of the horse, which says a lot about what they think of him,” said Sorella, who has told Trot Insider that the bay will also be switching barns – from Barry Bird’s to that of Anthony Beaton, who was formerly a main cog in Casie Coleman’s outfit.

Just like in the real world, first impressions mean something. And Larrys Petrock sure did leave a lasting imprint when he officially got to know Sorella and Beaton yesterday (Tuesday, March 6) in Puslinch, Ont. Lumsden was the odd man out for the Tuesday intros, but ‘them’s the breaks’ when basking in the Florida sun.

“He arrived at Classy Lane yesterday,” said Sorella. “We got him vetted out and Anthony went a training mile with him, and he liked how the horse handled himself. We were all impressed and happy with everything. It ended up being an expensive Tuesday.”

Here are the facts: Larrys Petrock was an unraced two-year-old. He is now a perfect three for three while racing in low conditions at Woodbine Racetrack. There is no proof at this point that he is the second coming of Wiggle It Jiggleit, but he has overcome an injury that he sustained early in his two-year-old season. He is currently very fresh and is currently very sharp.

After having seen his replays and lines, any Standardbred racehorse owner knows that the upside on Larrys Petrock is clear. Prognosticating the future is another kettle of fish altogether, though, and tempering expectations is always the sound course of action. But it is what Larrys Petrock displayed on Tuesday which has Sorella thinking that the bay could be much more than a Woodbine winter dynamo.

“Barry (Barry Bird) told us that the horse has a quick turn of foot, which people have definitely seen, and that he has never had a bad training day. More than anything, Barry told us that the horse does his job.

“Consider that the horse shipped to brand new surroundings (Classy Lane) yesterday from somewhere east (of the Greater Toronto Area). He got off the truck like it was no big thing at all. We had set up a stall for him and he took to that and started eating like it was nothing. He went out onto the track like it was nothing at all and trained very well. We were all impressed and are really excited.”

Sorella is hoping that Larrys Petrock’s professionalism, shipping acumen and work-like qualities can help him become a player at the stakes level. The gelding is eligible to the Ohio Sires Stakes, and Sorella is hoping that his new recruit can travel south and earn some coveted points in the Buckeye State’s lucrative program. That being said, Larrys Petrock has been staked to the Somebeachsomewhere and the Pepsi North America Cup, and the prospect of being right there in the mix for Canada’s prestigious ‘glamour boy’ event is something that Sorella is high on.

“He’s going to be with Anthony at Classy Lane, even though he is eligible to the Ohio program. That’s one of the things that I wanted – to be able to pop over and see him. We’re excited about the horse and excited about the possibilities that this season holds for him. Watching him race and seeing the way in which he changes gears – you really can’t teach that.”

In addition to the Somebeachsomewhere and the NA Cup, Larrys Petrock has been staked to the Breeders Crown, Meadowlands Pace, Cane Pace and the Messenger, among other high-profile events – staking which is somewhat similar to one of Sorella’s other three-year-olds, Jimmy Freight.

Sorella told Trot Insider that he didn’t want to get ahead of himself with either of his charges at this point, though, as he offered a brief glimpse of what the next few weeks may hold for Larrys Petrock.

“It’s still early, so we’re still looking at overnights and getting Larrys Petrock to learn about racing a little bit more. It’s an exciting process and we’re really excited about it."

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