04/17/2008 11:00PM

Domestic Dispute has numbers on his side

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Nearly a dozen stallions entered stud in Maryland in 2005, and their first foals reach the races this year. Of that group, Domestic Dispute, Great Notion, and Bowman's Band are represented by more than 25 2-year-olds.

Domestic Dispute and Great Notion stand at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City. Bowman's Band entered stud at Maryland Stallion Station in Glyndon, where he stood two seasons before moving to Lane's End in Versailles, Ky., for 2007.

Domestic Dispute, a multiple graded-stakes-winning son of Unbridled's Song, leads the way by number of 2-year-olds, with 74 registered to date. One of the most popular stallions to stand in Maryland in recent years, he covered 114 mares his first season at stud. His foals have grabbed attention from the moment they hit the ground, which has been reflected at the sales.

Domestic Dispute led all sires at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale by gross sales ($170,300 for nine sold) for his first-crop weanlings. His weanling average of $18,922 for the year was behind only the averages for Not for Love and Two Punch in Maryland.

In 2007, Domestic Dispute's yearlings averaged $49,370, the second-highest average in the Mid-Atlantic region.

While excelling at distances beyond a mile, winning the Grade 2 Strub at 1 1/8 miles and just missing in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on turf, Domestic Dispute also had the speed to be competitive at shorter distances, and finished second in the seven-furlong Grade 2 Pat O'Brien

Richard Golden, managing partner of Northview Stallion Station, expects Domestic Dispute's runners may tend to lean toward "classic-type distances."

This year, Northview Stallion Station raised the stud fee for Domestic Dispute from $5,000 to $7,500. Domestic Dispute covered 127 mares in 2007, and although there are slightly fewer mares in the stallion's book this year, Golden noted that it's "still a very full book."

"The quality of his mares seems to have improved with the increased stud fee," he said.

Great Notion entered stud with a solid reputation as a precocious sprinter, and Golden acknowledged that he would expect the same with Great Notion's foals. A son of Elusive Quality out of a Dayjur mare, Great Notion has 39 registered 2-year-olds.

Undefeated at 2, Great Notion won Oaklawn Park's one-mile Southwest Stakes early in his 3-year-old season and led every step but the last in the seven-furlong Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga. He lost by a neck to Valid Video that day.

Although Bowman's Band no longer stands in Maryland, his current crop of juveniles are eligible for the lucrative Maryland Million program, as are all stallions who stood in Maryland and were nominated for the 2005 breeding season. Bowman's Band covered 100 mares in 2005 and has more than 50 registered 2-year-olds.

The newest crop of freshman sires has yet to have a starter, but two Maryland sires have gotten a 2-year-old winner early this season. First out of the blocks was Lion Hearted, whose Kentucky-bred son Asaint Needs Brass got his first win in England on March 29. Lion Hearted stands at Northview Stallion Station.

Country Life Farm's second-year stallion No Armistice is the sire of the first Maryland-bred 2-year-old winner of 2008. Onearmedbandit scored decisively in the first 2-year-old race run in Maryland this year, at Laurel Park on April 11. Onearmedbandit, a filly out of Court Tour (by Polish Numbers) bred by David Daniel, is a full sister to stakes-placed Valin Time, who was No Armistice's first winner as a sire.

More opportunities for Maryland-breds

Three new races for Maryland-breds are on this year's Pimlico stakes schedule. The $50,000 Hookedonthefeelin Stakes (named for the Grade 1-winning daughter of Citidancer) will be run on May 3 for 3-year-old fillies going five furlongs on the turf.

The other two races are $35,000 starter handicaps at 1 1/16 miles. The Kattegat's Pride, for fillies and mares, will be run on Black-Eyed Susan Day, May 16. The Deputed Testamony, for runners 3 and up, is on the Preakness Day card, May 17.