02/17/2005 1:00AM

Interest in Sort It Out sold


Robert McNair's Stonerside Stable has purchased a majority interest in Sort It Out, winner of the Whirlaway Stakes, and the New York-bred colt will be transferred to three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert.

Though the purchase price was not disclosed, Stonerside is believed to have purchased 80 percent of the colt, while Preferred Pals Stable, a 15-member partnership based in upstate New York, retained a 20 percent interest.

"It's in that range," said John Adger, racing manager for Stonerside.

Sort It Out, a son of Out of Place, rallied strongly from off the pace to win last Saturday's Whirlaway at Aqueduct by a neck over Naughty New Yorker. It was Sort It Out's third consecutive victory. His final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.32, and he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 95 for the performance.

Sort It Out, previously trained by Allen Iwinski, will need to be nominated to the Triple Crown for a fee of $6,000 by March 26.

"Bob likes the colt a lot - it was his recommendation that we take a look at him," Adger said. "We were in a position to look for an up-and-coming 3-year-old, hopefully a classic-type horse."

It is expected that Sort It Out will ship to Baffert's Santa Anita barn next week.

It is unclear where Sort It Out will run next. Since Sort It Out has had three two-turn races in five weeks, Adger said, it is possible he could just run once more before the Kentucky Derby. That race could come in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 9, Adger said. Congaree won the 2001 Wood Memorial for Baffert and Stonerside before finishing third in the Kentucky Derby.