06/03/2008 11:00PM

Einstein held out of Manhattan

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Einstein, arguably the top turf horse in the country, was not entered in Saturday's Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park because of a licensing issue involving one of his owners.

Einstein, who would have been favored for the $400,000 race, had been scheduled to be flown from Louisville to New York on Wednesday, but did not make the trip.

Shirley Cunningham, one of the primary owners of Einstein, let his New York owner's license expire eight months ago, according to the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. On Tuesday night, his attorney withdrew his application for a new license.

Cunningham and William Gallion are Kentucky-based attorneys who race under the name Midnight Cry Stables. Both men have been in jail since last August, accused of misappropriating tens of millions of dollars from a $200 million settlement in a case involving the diet drug fen-phen.

In his last two starts, both in Kentucky, Einstein ran under the names of Patricia Cunningham - the wife of Shirley Cunningham - and Melissa Green, who were listed as lessees of the horse. According to New York rules, both the lessors and lessees of a horse must be licensed in New York.

Helen Pitts, the trainer of Einstein, did not return calls seeking comment regarding plans for the horse.

Einstein has won 3 of 5 starts this year, including the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Derby. His only loss on turf this year came to Kip Deville in the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland.