Jerry Bailey has been named by trainer Bob Baffert to ride Santa Catalina winner Domestic Dispute in the March 16 San Felipe Stakes. Baffert made the move after the colt's regular rider, David Flores, opted to ride Atswhatimtalknbout in the 1 1/16-mile event.
Bailey's agent, Ron Anderson, had pursued both horses and would have been happy to ride either one. "After the way Atswhatimtalknbout ran in his last start, I knew he and Domestic Dispute would be going in the San Felipe and that there would be a conflict in riders," Anderson said. "Both horses looked very live in the race. I called (trainer) Ron Ellis, and both he and Bob were receptive. But each felt Flores was going to stay with them. I didn't have a serious situation in Florida that day, and my job is to win the Derby.
"As it turned out, David went with Atswhatimtalknbout. Jerry and I are very happy in the spot we ended up in. Domestic Dispute has plenty of 2-year-old foundation and he looks like he'll run all day. Jerry had ridden for (Domestic Dispute's owner) Gary Garber before, winning the Del Mar Futurity with Flame Thrower."
Domestic Dispute, in addition to winning the Santa Catalina by three lengths this year, finished second in the Sunny Slope Stakes last October and third in the Hollywood Futurity behind Toccet and Kafwain in December.
Ellis was thrilled with Flores' decision. "I had told David to take as long as he wanted," Ellis said. "David has worked with this horse and has been excited about him, and I wanted them to take this ride together. Flying to Florida, I told Wayne (owner B. Wayne Hughes) not to take it personally if David chose Domestic Dispute, because he's more experienced and will probably be the favorite in the San Felipe. I also told him if he does take our horse he must be very high on him. The fact that he did is a ringing endorsement, and I'm extremely flattered. I've known Ron Anderson for a long time and when he called me only minutes after our horse's last start, I said to myself, "Wow, he must have looked very impressive.'"
Atswhatimtalknbout, a son of A.P. Indy, has won two of this three career starts, including a 1 1/16-mile allowance score at Santa Anita in his last start. Hughes purchased the colt at the Fasig-Tipton February 2-year-old sale for $900,000.