Updated on 09/17/2011 8:48PM

Sort It Out wins with 'Grocer' in fourth

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Sort It Out (#4) closes in on Naughty New Yorker to win the Whirlaway by a neck at Aqueduct on Saturday.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Galloping Grocer finished a disappointing fourth in his 3-year-old debut Saturday as Sort It Out, another New York-bred, stole the spotlight in the at Aqueduct.

In his first start in 77 days, Galloping Grocer wilted late after setting a solid pace, as Sort It Out outfinished Naughty New Yorker - another New York-bred - to win the $84,150 Whirlaway by a neck before a crowd of 4,228. It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Scrappy T, the Count Fleet Stakes winner who made the lead inside the eighth pole. Galloping Grocer finished a neck behind in fourth, meaning he was beaten 1 3/4 lengths.

Galloping Grocer, the 1-2 favorite based on a strong 2-year-old campaign, had blood dripping from a gash in his left hind leg, according to trainer Dominick Schettino. Jockey Aaron Gryder said he felt Galloping Grocer "sink in his hind end" around the half-mile pole.

Galloping Grocer, whom Gryder kept wide entering the first turn, ran three-quarters of a mile in 1:11.27 while pressed by Diamond Wildcat. Galloping Grocer had the lead until inside the eighth pole.

Schettino felt the horse simply got tired from running so hard off a long layoff. He was more concerned about the gash in the gelding's hind leg than the fourth-place finish.

Sort It Out, trained by Allen Iwinski, is not nominated to the Triple Crown. It has only been in the last five weeks that he has begun to flourish. The Whirlaway was his third consecutive victory, all at 1 1/16 miles over the inner track. Under Tim Thornton, Sort It Out saved ground while in mid-pack, came off the rail around the far turn, and stormed home four wide in the stretch.

Sort It Out's final time of 1:43.32 was the second-fastest of 26 Whirlaways run. He returned $41.40 to win.

Sort It Out, a son of Out of Place, is owned by Preferred Pals Stable, a partnership headed by upstate New York friends Larry Paltrowitz and Bob Levin. Preferred Pals owned My Snookie's Boy, the runner-up to Lion Heart in last year's Haskell.

"We thought last year when My Snookie's Boy went head and head with Lion Heart it couldn't get any better than that," said Paltrowitz, who will likely put up the $6,000 late Triple Crown nomination fee. "Sort It Out is going to do better than that."