10/19/2004 11:00PM

Bay Marvel, Abbondanza surprise entrants


There were 15 horses pre-entered for the 14 spots in the starting gate for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint, with surprise entrant Bay Marvel being the lone horse initially excluded from the field. An allowance horse who has won his last three starts, Bay Marvel could get into the race if Domestic Dispute, who was also pre-entered in the Mile, starts in the Mile rather than the Sprint.

"Our first choice was the Mile, and the Sprint was the second preference," said Paddy Gallagher, who trains Domestic Dispute.

Bay Marvel won his maiden at Lone Star and races for Texas resident Bobby Beck, who often contends for the owner title at Lone Star. In his last start, Bay Marvel won an optional claiming race at Hawthorne and earned an 87 Beyer Speed Figure. He would be a longshot in the Sprint.

"It was the owner's decision to pre-enter, and I don't know if he's going to run," said Bret Calhoun, who trains Bay Marvel.

The other surprise pre-entrant in the Sprint was Abbondanza, a versatile 3-year-old who in his last start won the $100,000 Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park on Oct. 2. He earned a career-best 105 Beyer Figure.

"We're going to see how he works on Saturday and make a decision [on starting]," said Tim Tullock Jr., who trains Abbondanza.

If he goes, Abbondanza would ship to Lone Star on Sunday and will be ridden by Eibar Coa. Earlier this year, Abbondanza won the $100,000 Hirsch Jacobs by a neck over Sprint entrant Bwana Charlie and was also a troubled third to Fire Slam in the Grade 2 Riva Ridge at Belmont.

Abbondanza is based at Pimlico.

Domestic Dispute has run long and on the dirt in most of his races, and he would be charting different territory in either the Mile or Sprint. Whatever the race, he will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux, said Gallagher.

Domestic Dispute, who won the Grade 2 Strub in February, ran seventh last out in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Gallagher said he was puzzled by the result because Domestic Dispute had trained so well leading up to the race. Rather than point for the Classic, Gallagher said he wanted to change things up for the Breeders' Cup.

"The Classic distance may be too far for him," he said. "We thought we should try something different, so we decided on the Mile on turf, or maybe the Sprint."

Gallagher said one reason he finds the Sprint appealing is the potential for a speed duel, which could set up a late run for Domestic Dispute. Domestic Dispute arrived at Lone Star on Wednesday and will likely breeze on turf in the next week, said Gallagher.

Cajun Beat will attempt to be the first two-time winner of the Sprint, having captured the race last year at odds of 22-1.

Bwana Charlie came out of a bullet five-furlong breeze Tuesday morning at Lone Star in good order, said trainer Steve Asmussen.

Sprint (Grade 1) 6 furlongs Purse: $1,000,000

Midas EyesR. FrankelForego score in his last was his best effort yet5-1
Clock StopperD. StewartCloser needs a little racing luck, and that's all6-1
Cajun BeatR. FrankelLast year's winner will improve second off layoff6-1
SpeightstownT. PletcherHe's happy there's no Pico Central; tailing off?3-1
Our New RecruitJ. SadlerLiked his comeback at Dmr; he'd be no surprise8-1
KelaM. MitchellTremendous at Dmr, and has won at Lone Star8-1
ChampaliG. FoleyShowed he is back to his best in his Phoenix win10-1
Gold StormC. CascioFine try in the Phoenix, but this is much tougher15-1
Pt's Grey EagleC. DollaseWon a less-than-vintage edition of Ancient Title20-1
Domestic DisputeP. GallagherSix furlongs has never been his game; pass30-1
Bwana CharlieS. AsmussenTwo duds after a decent Amsterdam victory30-1
AbbondanzaT. Tullock Jr.Little evidence that he can compete with these50-1
CuveeS. AsmussenTough to win this if he couldn't win the Ky. Cup30-1
My Cousin MattJ. MullinsYet another foregettable year for one-time tiger50-1
Also Eligible (in order of preference)
Bay MarvelW. B. CalhounHave to be better choices for his stakes debut50-1

- Odds and commentary by Mike Watchmaker.