07/24/2003 12:00AM

Disturbingthepeace needs a victory


DEL MAR, Calif. - Disturbingthepeace was unstoppable last summer. He swept Del Mar's two major sprint stakes, the Bing Crosby and Pat O'Brien handicaps, running his win streak to six.

He has not won since then.

Disturbingthepeace has gone far and wide searching for another elusive victory. To Arlington Park. Back home at Santa Anita. To Laurel. To Hollywood Park. Even to Japan. Nothing.

Saturday, he returns to Del Mar, seeking to end a five-race losing streak and re-establish his position as one of the West's elite sprinters. It will not be an easy task. The Grade 2, $200,000 Bing Crosby has drawn an outstanding field, including former sprint champ Kona Gold and the wickedly fast Avanzado - both of whom are unbeaten at Del Mar - along with Midwest invader Beau's Town. The six-furlong race is the sixth on a 10-race card.

Darrell Vienna, who trains Disturbingthepeace, on Thursday morning conceded, "I don't think his performance is up to his level of last year."

In an attempt to get Disturbingthepeace to snap out of his doldrums, Vienna said he was going to remove the blinkers that Disturbingthepeace has worn for more than a year.

"He's been training without blinkers," Vienna said. "I don't think he needs them anymore. He wants to see what he's doing. I hope it's not a mistake. Sometimes when a horse is not doing good, you start inventing reasons, then you act on those reasons."

Avanzado, who won his first two starts in this country at Del Mar last summer after arriving from Argentina, also will make a blinker change for this race. Doug O'Neill, who trains Avanzado, has decided to cut holes out of the back of the plastic blinker cups that Avanzado regularly wears.

"I think it will make him more competitive," O'Neill said. "We added the blinkers to help him get in the gate, but I don't think that's a problem anymore."

Avanzado finished second in the Dubai Golden Shaheen in March, but was sixth of nine in Hollywood Park's Triple Bend Handicap on July 5 in his lone start since then.

"He must have had the post-Dubai blues," O'Neill said. "He didn't show that before the race. He was training great. And he seems to have come out of the Triple Bend in good shape."

Captain Squire, who was third in the Golden Shaheen, has waited until the Bing Crosby to make his return for trainer Jeff Mullins. Captain Squire has finished in the money in his last seven starts, but his best effort came in January, when he won the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita off a five-month layoff.

"If the Sunshine Millions is any indication of how he runs fresh, he's got a good chance," Mullins said. "There's a lot of speed in the race. Giovannetti and Avanzado should set a pretty good pace."

Kona Gold, who won the Bing Crosby in 2000 and 2001, has won all five of his starts at Del Mar but has won just twice in nine starts since the 2001 Crosby. Despite that, he still was assigned co-high weight of 119 pounds.

Beau's Town also was assigned 119 pounds. He won stakes this year at Oaklawn Park and Fair Grounds, then lost narrowly at Churchill Downs last time out. He has won nine times in 13 starts.

Medecis is making his first start on dirt after 11 grass races. No Armistice figures to improve after prepping in a turf sprint at Hollywood Park. Bluesthestandard has won four of his last six and never has finished worse than second in two Del Mar outings.