SOUTH DAKOTA-BRED TO PLAY SECRETARIAT

You gotta admit, that hurts a little.

Hey, it’s bad enough he producers of the Secretariat movie declined Virginia’s offer to be the obvious location to shoot the movie, now the lead role is going to an unraced South Dakota-bred. Oh well, at least he has a cool name – Cyclone Larry.

Now, the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s movie division will tell you they have a parallel story to Virginia Thoroughbred breeding industry. The General Assembly won’t give the VTC enough money to compete for movies like Secretariat while neighboring states like West Virginia have tourism budgets a much as four times larger. Sound familiar?

So while we helped VTC and the Disney folks scout out Virginia locations, we ultimately couldn’t compete with other states…Talk about beating a dead horse – no pun intended.

However, Cyclone Larry does have some Virginia in his pedigree. He is by Virginia-bred Finn McCool. Cyclone Larry is out of Andeleisha by Brass Minister.

Finn McCool won $56,960 while racing at three and four with a win in the $40,000 Meredith Bailes Memorial Stakes at Colonial Downs. By Meadowlake, out of Joying by Storm Cat, Finn McCool was bred here in the Commonwealth by the Van Clief’s Nydrie Stud and Michael A. Letis.

Heather Benson, general manager of the North Dakota Horse Park in Fargo, owns Cyclone Larry.

“They were looking for a big, bright chestnut Thoroughbred with a happy attitude and good health and Larry fit that to a ‘T’,” Benson said. “We sent in his photos and biography to their Web site and a week later Larry got the call to Hollywood!”

Hollywood veteran Rusty Hendrickson is overseeing the horses in the movie. Hendrickson had the same role in 2003’s Seabiscuit. The son of Thoroughbred trainer K. L. “Bud” Hendrickson, Hendrickson worked a summer job in 1973 with Kentucky veterinarian Alex Harthill.

Cyclone Larry was shipped to Kentucky late last week.