06/25/2002 12:00AM

Holthus has license to win


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - People keep coming up to Bob Holthus and congratulating him, and not because he turned 68 on Monday. It was 50 years ago this week that Holthus took out a trainer's license in his native Nebraska, and more than 2,500 winners later, the combination of his longevity and success are the subject of considerable admiration among his many friends, fans, and colleagues.

"You had to be 18 to get a trainer's license in Nebraska then," said Holthus. "I got it a couple days after I turned 18."

What may be most remarkable about Holthus is that he continues to play the racing game at a high level. One easy example is Red n'Gold, the 4-year-old filly he will send out Thursday as a major contender in the ninth and featured race at Churchill Downs, a $46,200 allowance at 7 1/2 furlongs.

Red n'Gold, owned by Ken English and Alan Braun, came into peak form this spring at Oaklawn Park, where she won the Pippin Stakes before finishing second in the Oaklawn Breeders' Cup and the Bayakoa.

After trying and failing against top-class fillies such as Spain and Mystic Lady in the Louisville Breeders' Cup last month, Red n'Gold should find herself in a much better spot Thursday when she faces five other fillies and mares.

Colonial Glitter, a 3-year-old filly trying older rivals for the first time, probably is her most accomplished opponent. Colonial Glitter, owned by the 3rd Turn Stable of Will Wolford and partners, posted an easy romp in the Bourbonette at Turfway before being overmatched in the Ashland and La Troienne.

The rest of the field is Carson City Sham, For Rubies, Two Dot Slew, and Patti Peach.

Nagle named on four mounts

Apprentice rider Valerie Nagle, sidelined since suffering a concussion in a June 8 spill, is scheduled to return Thursday, having been named on four horses, including Patti Peach in the feature.

Nagle, a 23-year-old native of Ireland, actually attempted to return four days after the spill but took off after riding just one race, saying she needed more time to recuperate.

Nagle is the leading apprentice at the meet with 10 wins.

Congaree works on turf

, being pointed to his turf debut in the $250,000 Firecracker Handicap next Thursday, worked over the Churchill grass course Tuesday with Pat Day aboard, going five furlongs in 1:00.60.

Day has not yet committed to Congaree for the Firecracker, as he also may have a chance to ride California invader Good Journey for trainer Wally Dollase in the Grade 2, one-mile race.

In other Tuesday works, all on the main track:

Easyfromthegitgo and Cashier's Dream, both trained by Steve Asmussen, breezed five furlongs in company in 1:01.80.

Asmussen also had Posse, easy winner of the Kentucky Breeders' Cup in his last start, out for a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.40.

Wiseman's Ferry, possible for the Iowa Derby or Ohio Derby, breezed a half-mile in 51.40 seconds.

Short Aristides field

As few as four older horses are expected Saturday to challenge two-time defending champion Bet on Sunshine in the $100,000 Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap, a 6 1/2-furlong race that serves as the lone stakes here this weekend.

Calvin Borel has the mount on Bet on Sunshine, a 10-year-old gelding who finished fourth in his lone start this year, an allowance race last month.

Other probables for the Grade 3 Aristides are No Armistice, Pat Day to ride; Orientate, Robby Albarado; Binthebest, Jon Court; and U.S. Jets, Mark Guidry.