04/02/2007 11:00PM

Kleins drop Flint for Margolis


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Bert, Elaine, and Richard Klein, the Louisville banking family that led the owner standings at the 2006 fall meet at Churchill Downs, removed their 17-horse stable from trainer Steve Flint on Tuesday morning, severing a 15-year relationship with the Flint family.

Steve Flint essentially had been a private trainer for the Kleins since September 2001. Steve Flint's father, Bernie, had bought horses and trained for the Kleins since 1992 before being replaced by his son in that role shortly after Outofthebox won the 2001 Super Derby for the Kleins.

Thirteen of the Kleins' active runners took the short trip Tuesday within the Churchill stable area to the barn of Steve Margolis, whose most notable training feat to date is a victory in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint with 22-1 shot Cajun Beat. Brad Cox and Amy Lopresti each were sent two of the Klein horses.

Richard Klein, who is the son of Bert and Elaine and is the stable's manager, declined to comment on the reason for the split. Steve Flint also declined to comment, except to say that being a private trainer "can really be hard" and that he intends to rebuild as the trainer of a public stable. The removal of the Klein runners left Flint with two horses in his stable, which recently had relocated from Fair Grounds in New Orleans to Churchill. "The Kleins took me places that would have taken me years to reach without them, so I really appreciate the opportunities they gave me," said Flint, 47.

The Kleins have been among the top breeders and owners on the Kentucky circuit since the mid-1990's. Hurricane Bertie, a multiple graded winner and earner of $940,000 when trained by Bernie Flint in the late 1990's, was a cornerstone of an equine family that has been most instrumental in the family's success. Now 12, she is related to several other major winners owned by the Kleins and trained by Steve Flint.

Foremost among the stakes winners that Steve Flint sent out under the Kleins' familiar lime-green silks was Allamerican Bertie, winner of the 2002 Delaware Oaks and three other graded races. Other stakes winners included De Bertie, Change Up, Swept Away, Hidden Assets, G P Fleet, May Gator, and Interest Only.

The Kleins led the owner standings last fall at Churchill with nine wins.