05/02/2003 12:00AM

Derby runner profile: Domestic Dispute

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STRENGTHS: The Santa Catalina victory in January catapulted him into the Derby picture and he's had legitimate excuses since. He was wide, then checked late in the San Felipe when sandwiched in the lane. Was too close to the pace in the Santa Anita Derby, and wide on a rail-favoring Keeneland strip in the Lexington, missing the place by a neck despite the tough journey. Has the pedigree to stay the trip. Sire has produced Unbridled Elaine (Breeders' Cup Distaff) and Buddha, who would have been one of the favorites for the Derby last year after winning the Wood Memorial, but because of injury did not race. Grandsire won the Derby (1990) and sired 1996 Derby winner Grindstone and 2000 Preakness winner Red Bullet. He has not run a poor race in 2003.

WEAKNESS: When the trainer of three of the last six Derby winners dismisses a Derby prospect, selling him two weeks before the Derby, you have to wonder. Former trainer Bob Baffert was not sending Domestic Dispute to the Derby anyway, declaring him a non-Derby starter after his fifth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby. The declining Beyer Speed Figure pattern is alarming, as is the fact that he has lost ground from the stretch to wire in his last three starts.

STRATEGY: His best race occurred when the pace was fast and he was able to sit in midpack then fire home. Expect first-time rider Alex Solis to have him sitting between sixth and 10th early, and then to have him fire in the lane.

BETTING VALUE: Despite being trained by Baffert and running well earlier in the year (103 Beyer in the Santa Catalina win) he was ignored in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Considering he is no longer trained by Baffert or ridden by Jerry Bailey, and that his Beyers are on the decline and that eight runners in the Derby have defeated him since March 16, he should be at least 50-1. He deserves more respect than he has been getting, and is eligible to be in the superfecta at a huge price.

PEDIGREE PROFILE

SIRE LINE: Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Unbridled's Song was from the first crop of the 1990 Derby winner, Unbridled. While Unbridled was a confirmed stamina influence, Unbridled's Song has been more of a brilliant (speed) influence with only three full crops to race. His best offspring include Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine, Wood Memorial Stakes winner Buddha, and stakes winners Song-andaprayer and Griffinite.

FEMALE FAMILY: Majestical Moment placed in the Bay Meadows Oaks and second dam Olay Monique was winless in four starts but produced La Canada Stakes winner Dianes Halo and Rushaway Stakes winner Pugnacious. Notably, Domestic Dispute's fifth dam, Mysterious East, is a full sister to Native Dancer.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: Unbridled's Song gets classy runners, but his chances of siring a Derby winner will increase if he is bred to a mare by a stamina influence. Unfortunately, Domestic Dispute's damsire is Magesterial, who only adds more speed to the pedigree. It is a nine-furlong pedigree, at best.

- Pedigree profile by Lauren Stich