03/27/2007 11:00PM

Filing to block Great Hunter lien

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Attorneys for Paul Reddam, the owner of Kentucky Derby hopeful Great Hunter, were scheduled to appear in an Orange County Superior Court on Thursday morning in California to ask a judge to throw out a claim by a bank that Reddam bought Great Hunter while the horse was under a lien.

Reddam's attorney, Dan Baren, filed a lawsuit against Fifth Third Bank late last week seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the bank from taking any action regarding the horse, whom Reddam bought last year from Ilona Whetstone for $550,000. The lawsuit also seeks a ruling that the bank's case is without merit.

According to Baren, Fifth Third has claimed that Great Hunter was among a number of horses owned by Whetstone and her husband, L. Eric Whetstone, that were used as collateral for loans that the Whetstones defaulted on. Fifth Third notified Reddam earlier this month that the horse was under a lien, eight months after Reddam bought the horse.

Fifth Third's director of corporate communications, Debra DeCourcy, said that because the matter is under litigation the bank would not comment.