Larry-tariat: Secretariat Star Will Be a North Dakota Thoroughbred Named Larry

by Fran Jurga | 23 August 2009 | The Jurga Report

Larry the North Dakota Thoroughbred is ready for his close-up…and Disney apparently likes what it sees.

When I first heard about the casting call for Secretariat look-alikes, I thought that the stories of the submissions might be more interesting than the actual movie. And it turns out that I might have been right.

Just look at one of the winners.

While some of us thought that Point Given should come out of his deluxe stall at Three Chimneys and leave his stud career behind for a while, it turns out that Secretariat will not be played by a Kentucky blueblood. And not even by a Southern California runner.

No, think again. Think of the most unlikely state that has Thoroughbred racing and then cue the Rocky theme: here comes Larry the Thoroughbred, all the way from his happy home at the North Dakota Horse Park in that most famous of North Dakota towns, Fargo. (Cue the wood chipper from Fargo, the movie. Why couldn’t Marge Gunderson play Penny Chenery? I loved that movie.)

Secretariat is scheduled to begin filming this fall in Kentucky (even though Secretariat himself was from Virginia) and Larry, whose real name is Cyclone Larry, has been sold to Disney for the duration of production. He’ll be given back at the end of filming.

North Dakota Horse Park General Manager Heather Benson knew she had the right horse when she heard what Disney was seeking.

“They were looking for a big, bright chestnut Thoroughbred with a happy attitude and good health and Larry fit that to a T,” said Heather. “We sent in his photos and biography to their website,, and a week later Larry got the call to Hollywood!”

Disney Head Wrangler, Rusty Hendrickson will have three-year-old Larry shipped to the Kentucky-based training center sometime during the week of August 28. Until then, the new Hollywood “star” will reside at the North Dakota Horse Park and remain in training.

Heather said that Larry will need some help from a makeup artist to match Secretariat in the markings department; Disney countered with “no problem!”

Larry proudly paraded in front of the grandstand yesterday at the races, though he probably wondered what all the fuss was about. The track celebrated his good fortune with dollar beer and hot dogs, and a turnout of 2500 racing fans for a 12-race card, too.

It sounds like Larry comes from a pretty great place. The horse park is unique in that it is a racetrack but also the site of the North Dakota State University Equine Sciences Department.

Click here to become a fan of Larry-tariat on Facebook.

Larry showing off his color and physique that helped him get the role of Secretariat. Photos are mirrored from Larry’s Fan Page on


? 2006-2009 Fran Jurga and The Jurga Report: Horse Health Headlines. All rights reserved.

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