Updated on 09/17/2011 10:22AM

Domestic Dispute is sold

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Domestic Dispute, the winner of the Santa Catalina Stakes in January who is winless in his last three starts, has been purchased by California owners David Bienstock and Chuck Winner and very likely will start in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

The deal was finalized on Saturday after Bienstock, Winner and their trainer, Paddy Gallagher, spent the morning with trainer Bob Baffert watching Domestic Dispute gallop at Churchill Downs.

Domestic Dispute, a son of Unbridled's Song, was acquired from Gary Garber of Solana Beach, Calif., who bred the colt in Kentucky.

Bienstock and Winner said they had been exploring the potential purchase since last month, and that the tempo of negotiations accelerated this week.

"We've been looking at the horse for quite a while," Winner said. "It's not as late of a deal as it may seem."

Gallagher said that jockey Alex Solis will ride Domestic Dispute in the Kentucky Derby.

"There's another few days to make a final decision," Winner said of starting in the Derby. "If we run we're very excited about it."

Domestic Dispute has won 2 of 10 starts and $280,687. He won a maiden race at Del Mar last September in his second start and later in the year finished second in the Sunny Slope Stakes over six furlongs at Santa Anita. In December, he was placed second in the Hollywood Futurity after finishing third.

This year, Domestic Dispute has made four starts. He won the Grade 2 Santa Catalina Stakes over 1 1/16 miles by three lengths on Jan. 18, beating a field that included Kentucky Derby hopeful Scrimshaw, who finished third.

Domestic Dispute made two more starts at Santa Anita, finishing fifth as the 2-1 favorite in the San Felipe Stakes on March 16, and fifth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on

April 5. Most recently, Domestic Dispute finished third behind Scrimshaw in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 19.

"He's stuck around," Gallagher said. "He ran as a 2-year-old and came back and ran this year. He's a solid horse."

Baffert had not listed Domestic Dispute as a Kentucky Derby hopeful since the Lexington Stakes. Baffert has two confirmed starters in the Derby - Indian Express and Kafwain - and may start Senor Swinger.

Domestic Dispute has made one start at Churchill Downs, finishing ninth in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last November.

"They're buying a good horse," Baffert said. "They want to run in the race. The horse has a lot of residual value. He likes the racetrack here. Gary Garber is treating this like a business."