- Horse Racing - Domestic Dispute again given upset chance

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Friday, August 13
Domestic Dispute again given upset chance

DEL MAR, Calif. -- Domestic Dispute is well suited for Sunday's $200,000 Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap over seven furlongs at Del Mar. The sprint will be his 14th consecutive stakes appearance, and like so many of his previous starts in top races, Domestic Dispute is cast as an outsider with a chance for an upset.

Domestic Dispute, 4, certainly lived up to that role last February when he weaved his way through traffic to win the Strub Stakes at 14-1 at Santa Anita.

The Grade 2 Pat O'Brien will be Domestic Dispute's first start since a sixth-place finish in the $6 million Dubai World Cup in the Middle East on March 27. In that race, over 1 1/4 miles, he was fifth with a quarter-mile remaining and faded from contention in the stretch, leaving two other American challengers - Pleasantly Perfect and Medaglia d'Oro - to fight out the finish.

Pleasantly Perfect returned to finish second in the $250,000 San Diego Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on Aug. 1. Trainer Paddy Gallagher wanted to start Domestic Dispute in the San Diego, but said time ran short.

"He just wasn't ready," Gallagher said. "It took him longer to come back, and he needed the extra time."

Domestic Dispute is one of eight entrants for the Pat O'Brien. The race is led by Pico Central, the winner of the Carter, Metropolitan, and San Carlos handicaps this year, who carries top weight of 122 pounds. Other entrants are Hasty Kris, Disturbingthepeace, Amerindio, Kela, Marino Marini, and Taste of Paradise.

"It seems unusually tough this year," Gallagher said of the field. "Pico Central is a good horse."

The Pat O'Brien will be Domestic Dispute's first start in a sprint since he was a troubled sixth in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes over seven furlongs last December. As a 2-year-old, while trained by Bob Baffert, Domestic Dispute was second in the Sunny Slope Stakes over six furlongs at Santa Anita and won a six-furlong maiden race at Del Mar.

In a 17-race career, Domestic Dispute has been favored once, when he finished fifth in the San Felipe Stakes in March 2003. That race was preceded by a victory in the Santa Catalina Stakes. Later that spring, Domestic Dispute finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby, his first start for Gallagher and owners David Bienstock and Chuck Winner, who had acquired him the previous week.

Gallagher is using the Pat O'Brien as a prep to the $250,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap over a mile on Sept. 5.

"It's a prep, but hopefully he can win, too," Gallagher said.

Later this year, Domestic Dispute could run in the Breeders' Cup Classic or Mile, if he has a successful fall campaign. First, Gallagher wants to see a strong performance in the Pat O'Brien to boost the colt's reputation.

"He was in the Derby, he won the Strub, and we got to the Dubai World Cup," Gallagher said. "It's not all bad."

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