Sunday, April 27, 2003

Derby Notebook

New owners for Domestic Dispute

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Domestic Dispute, a probable starter for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, won't be running for trainer Bob Baffert.

The third-place finisher in the Lexington Stakes has been purchased by Californians David Bienstock and Chuck Winner for an undisclosed price. The colt was previously owned by Gary Garber.

Domestic Dispute, a winner in two of 10 starts, will be trained by Paddy Gallagher, a former assistant to jockey Bill Shoemaker when the four-time Derby-winning jockey began training in 1990.

"Any time you're in a big race, it's always exciting for everybody," said Gallagher, who is looking forward to saddling his first Kentucky Derby starter.

Baffert, who has won the Kentucky Derby in three of the last six years, plans to run Indian Express and Kafwain in the classic. He was mulling a Derby start for Domestic Dispute until the colt's disappointing finish in the Lexington.

Gallagher and Baffert watched the colt gallop Saturday morning.

"We're going to just look at him over here the next couple of days," Gallagher said. "If he looks and acts good, that's the plan - to run him in the Derby."

Domestic Dispute is winless in three starts since winning the Santa Catalina in January.

"Just the fact he's tough enough to stay around,'' Gallagher said, "I think, is what we probably liked about him."

Alex Solis will ride the colt for the first time in the Derby.

PROBABLE FIELD: Probables for the 129th Derby Saturday at Churchill Downs, in order of their rankings by the Enquirer:

Horse Rider
Empire Maker Jerry Bailey
Peace Rules Edgar Prado
Buddy Gil Gary Stevens
Kafwain Pat Valenzuela
Ten Most Wanted Pat Day
Atswhatimtalknbout David Flores
Scrimshaw TBD
Funny Cide Jose Santos
Brancusi Tony Farina
Indian Express Tyler Baze
Sir Cherokee Terry Thompson
Offlee Wild Robby Albarado
Domestic Dispute Alex Solis
Senor Swinger TBD
Eye of the Tiger TBD
Outta Here K. Desormeaux
Supah Blitz R. Homeister Jr.
Lone Star Sky Calvin Borel
Ten Cents A Shine TBD

DERBY TRIAL: Midas Eyes got trainer Bobby Frankel's Kentucky Derby week off to a perfect start Saturday.

The son of Touch Gold, with Jerry Bailey aboard, took the early lead and cruised to a 2 1/4-length win over Champali in the $167,400 Grade III Derby Trial on the opening day of Churchill Downs' 52-day spring meet.

The one-mile Trial is only the beginning of a long week for Frankel, who will saddle Empire Maker and Peace Rules in next week's Derby.

Peace Rules and Midas Eyes are both owned by Edmund Gann and Bailey will ride Empire Maker. But Frankel wasn't thinking about omens after winning the Trial.

"He ran and now the other two have to do the running," Frankel said. "Him running well doesn't make the others run well."

Preoccupied with his Derby contenders, Frankel admitted he hasn't put enough time into training Midas Eyes. Recent rains in California have hampered the colt's schedule and made Frankel nervous about the Trial.

Bettors were more confident. Midas Eyes, who won the Swale Stakes by 9 /4 lengths in March, went off as the 3-10 favorite.

OAKS NOTE: Midnight Cry, prepping for a possible run for the Kentucky Oaks, was euthanized after being fatally injured during a workout Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Midnight Cry had won the Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park in March and placed third in the Stonerside Beaumont at Keeneland earlier this month.

Trainer Ken McPeek said exercise rider Hanne Jorgensen escaped injury when Midnight Cry went down. The filly was euthanized on the track.

Midnight Cry had three wins and a second in eight career starts and earnings of $213,152.

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