08/19/2002 12:00AM

Disturbingthepeace best in Pat O'Brien


DEL MAR, Calif. - Disturbingthepeace became the first horse since 1991 to sweep Del Mar's major stakes races for sprinters with a hard-fought victory over Hot Market in Sunday's $150,000 Pat O'Brien Handicap.

The victory was the sixth straight for Disturbingthepeace, who has steadily progressed from a California-bred allowance sprinter to the West's best around one turn. But the 3-5 favorite gave his backers, and trainer Darrell Vienna, some anxious moments, because Hot Market would not go quietly.

"The race unfolded the way I thought it would, but in my pre-race vision we drew away," Vienna said.

Disturbingthepeace stalked the early pace of Hot Market and gained the lead turning into the stretch, but Hot Market did not yield. Disturbingthepeace was always in front narrowly through the final furlong, and he won by a head under jockey Victor Espinoza.

I Love Silver was another length back in third. He made a strong run on the turn, but lugged in at mid-stretch. Blu Air Force was fourth, and Mellow Fellow last in the field of five. Komax was scratched earlier in the day.

Disturbingthepeace was timed in 1:21.89 for seven furlongs on the fast main track. He also won the six-furlong Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap earlier in the meet, a feat last accomplished by Bruno 11 years ago.

Disturbingthepeace is owned by David and Rita Milch, who will have to put up a $90,000 supplemental fee to make Disturbingthepeace eligible to the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Vienna said he might bring Disturbingthepeace up to the Breeders' Cup on works alone.