07/03/2008 11:00PM

Domestic Dispute filly best in show

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Six Maryland-bred yearlings stood in the middle of the horse show ring at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium on the afternoon of June 29, as top Maryland trainer Mike Trombetta, the judge for this year's 74th annual Maryland Horse Breeders Association yearling show, made his final selections.

After spending four hours observing 73 yearlings on a hot and humid summer day, Trombetta had no trouble selecting his grand champion. Barbara Smith's homebred chestnut filly by Domestic Dispute, a solid individual with a long, fluid stride, was Trombetta's pick in a class where the trainer would be happy to have any one of the six class-winning yearlings in his barn.

"She just had a presence about her," noted Trombetta of the grand champion. "She excites you a bit when you look at her. She has a nice walk and was calm and relaxed."

The Domestic Dispute filly, bred in the name of Smith's Dragon's Lair Farm, is the first foal out of the hard-knocking Strike the Gold mare Strikethegold Lass, whom Smith had purchased privately at the conclusion her long racing career. Strikethegold Lass competed for seven years, primarily in allowance company, made 69 starts and earned $117,490.

Strikethegold Lass was 11 years old when she produced her Domestic Dispute filly, who has been named Strike a Blow Lass.

"This filly is gorgeous," remarked Smith, who has been breeding horses for about 10 years. "She is better looking than her dam and has a flowing walk. I thought, or hoped, that she'd place in her class, but I was a little surprised when she was named champion. Cary Jackson's colt [the reserve champion] was tough to beat."

The filly is only the second yearling Smith has taken to the show, and is an affirmation for the daily hard work.

"It's nice having someone tell you you're doing a good job," said Smith.

Smith has seven mares, some owned in partnership, at her 50-acre farm in Lothian, Md., near Annapolis. She believed Domestic Dispute would be a good match for Strikethegold Lass based on their similar body type. And on pedigree, they were a good nick.

The majority of Smith's horses are bred for the sales ring, and the Domestic Dispute filly is headed to Fasig-Tipton Midlantic's Eastern fall yearling sale at the end of September.

"If I don't sell them, I race them," said Smith, who also retrains her horses for show or as foxhunters. Smith is a whip for southern Maryland's Marlborough Hunt Club.

The show's reserve champion, a chestnut colt by Not for Love owned and bred by Cary Jackson and the winner of Class 2, adds to the credentials of his dam, Lady Tiara (by Vice Regent). The mare also produced for Jackson the 2005 yearling show champion (stakes-placed Bianchi's Boy, a colt by Cryptoclearance) and the 2007 reserve champion, a colt by Domestic Dispute now named Mr. Indisputable.

The Class 1 winner is a son of Bowman's Band out of stakes-placed Cool Number (by It's Freezing), bred by Muirfield East Inc. and owned by Muirfield Ventures, based in Ardmore, Pa.

Class 3 went to Bob Manfuso and Katy Voss's colt by Brahms out of Rare Flight (by Rare Performer). Ten years ago, Rare Flight's colt by the Argentine-bred Lord at War took the same class for the breeders. Stakes-placed stakes producer Rare Flight is a half-sister to $711,804-earner Smart 'n Quick. Another illustrious member of the family is 2007 graded stakes winner Smart Enough.

Manfuso and Voss also won Class 5 with a filly by first-year sire Dance with Ravens out of Parlez (by French Deputy), from the prolific family of top producer Halory.

The winner of Class 6 was an Eavesdropper filly from Don Pistorio's Tuscany Farm. The bay filly is out of the Pleasant Line mare Patelin Line. Her third dam is Majesty's Crown, who produced champion sprinter and top sire Smoke Glacken and five-time graded stakes winner Smokey Glacken.

The leading sire of the show was Not for Love, who sired the first- and second-place ribbon winners in Class 2. Not for Love, Domestic Dispute, and Dance With Ravens stand at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, Md. Millionaire Bowman's Band stood at Maryland Stallion Station in Glyndon, Md., until he was moved to Lane's End in Kentucky for the 2007 breeding season.