07/20/2007 12:00AM

Domestic Dispute babies are big hit in Kentucky


If last week's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale is any indication, Maryland continues to produce its share of top-quality racing prospects.

A Maryland-bred colt by the highly regarded freshman sire Lion Heart made national news on the first day of the auction, selling for $300,000 on a bid by agent Buzz Chace.

Consigned by his breeder, Ron and Carolyn Green's Green Willow Farms of Westminster, Md., the handsome bay is the second foal from the stakes-placed Deputy Minister mare V V S Flawless, whom the Greens purchased as a 4-year-old for $130,000 at the 2003 Keeneland January sale.

He recorded the second-highest price in the opening session, and ninth-highest overall.

But from a Maryland standpoint, the biggest star at the sale was the first-year stallion Domestic Dispute.

Not since the heyday of Windfields Farm - and its flagship sire, Northern Dancer, in the 1980s - has a Maryland stallion generated such widespread demand for his offspring at a Kentucky yearling auction.

Domestic Dispute had six sons and daughters sell for an average of $111,667. He ranked fourth among freshman sires (with five or more sold).

Three Domestic Dispute yearlings brought six-figure prices. His top seller, at $240,000, was a chestnut colt out of stakes producer Blue Slip (by Lines of Power), consigned by Michael and Julia O'Quinn, agent, and purchased by Maurice W. Miller III. In addition, a colt and filly by Domestic Dispute each brought $140,000 from the consignment of Marshall W. Silverman, agent.

The $140,000 colt, bred by longtime Maryland breeder Cary Jackson from the Vice Regent mare Lady Tiara, and purchased at the sale by Casey Family Farms LLC, had already been labeled a standout by one of the nation's leading trainers. Tom Albertrani pinned him as reserve champion at the Maryland Horse Breeders Association Yearling Show June 24. He was one of four Domestic Dispute offspring to earn placings at the show, and helped to make his sire the show's leading stallion by points earned.

The $140,000 filly, bred by leading Maryland breeders Tom and Chris Bowman, is out of stakes-placed Sally's Affair (by Black Tie Affair), from the family of Maryland-bred champions Gala Spinaway and Vegas Play.

Domestic Dispute, a 7-year-old graded-winning son of Unbridled's Song, stands for a modest fee of $5,000 at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, Md. He has attracted large books of mares each season, and had 64 live foals in his first crop.

"Obviously, Domestic Dispute will be under a lot of scrutiny when his foals start running next year," said Tom Bowman, general manager of Northview. "Anything less than unqualified success will be viewed as failure."

Bowman's strong hopes for the young stallion are reinforced, however, by the number of well-established horsemen who have invested in his future runners.

"He has opportunity for exposure all over the country," Bowman said.

As for Domestic Dispute's stud fee: "It deserves to go up," Bowman said. "But Northview has never had the philosophy that we need to take advantage of a wave. His fee will probably go up in increments, as his career progresses."

Maryland Million nomination deadline

The final deadline is approaching for nominating 2-year-olds to the Maryland Million. July 31 of a horse's 2-year-old year is the last possible date that a prospective runner may be made eligible for the program. The Maryland Million is restricted to progeny of Maryland sires, who must also be nominated. This year's Maryland Million is set for Oct. 13 at Laurel Park. For more information call (410) 252-2100.