06/16/2005 12:00AM

Reinstedler has no ill will toward Saint Liam


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - By sheer coincidence, Tony Reinstedler is running a horse against his onetime budding star. Reinstedler will saddle longshot Gouldings Green on Saturday in the Stephen Foster Handicap, the Grade 1 race in which Saint Liam, for whom Reinstedler laid a solid foundation, will be the highweight and probable favorite.

Reinstedler said he holds "absolutely none" of the ill feelings that some trainers might have when an owner takes a top horse away.

"I don't think that way," he said.

Gouldings Green, a rapidly improving 4-year-old colt, is one of a handful of longshots who will try Saint Liam, Badge of Silver, and Perfect Drift in the 24th Stephen Foster. Owned by Melnyk Racing Stables, Gouldings Green has two wins and two seconds from his last four starts and most recently was a fast-closing second in the May 28 Hanshin Handicap at Arlington Park.

"This has nothing to do with who trains who, or when, or whatever," said Reinstedler. "This is about the Stephen Foster. Heck, I'm just happy to have a horse that we think deserves a shot. Obviously, Saint Liam is a proven horse, and ours is not. But we think he's earned this opportunity."

Rapid Proof gets extended vacation

Two consistent turf veterans whose connections wanted to make the Opening Verse instead will pass.

Rapid Proof, winner of the Muniz and Connally handicaps earlier this year, has been sent to a farm after having bled when finishing last in his most recent race, the May 30 Louisville Handicap.

"We seriously considered running Saturday, but then we got to thinking about the hot weather and all, and in the long run it's probably better just to give him a little time and crank him back up for the fall," said trainer Hal Wiggins.

Meanwhile, Honor in War, who had been hindered by a chronic quarter crack, "just wasn't quite ready for something this demanding yet," said trainer Paul McGee. "We're hoping to get him in an allowance race before the end of the meet" July 10.

Jefferson Cup overshadowed

The Jefferson Cup once was a prime summer target for many trainers with a top 3-year-old grass horse. But with the inception of the Colonial Turf Cup, a $500,000 race that will be run next Saturday at Colonial Downs in Virginia, the Jefferson Cup finds itself lined up against some rough competition.

"Most definitely," said Churchill racing secretary Doug Bredar. "Three-year-olds on grass, that used to be a category that there just weren't that many races. But now, it seems like there are almost as many opportunities on grass as there are on dirt. The new Colonial race is an obvious example, and you've also got the Arlington series" that begins July 2 with the Arlington Classic.

All clear for Asmussen barn

The last three Steve Asmussen-trained horses who had been detained in quarantine have been released, effective Friday. Those horses have tested negative for the equine herpes virus and have been cleared by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to resume racing and daily training. The horses originally had been stabled with the rest of the Asmussen string in Barn 38 but more recently had been housed in Barn 17 after having tested positive for the virus in a previous round of tests.

While at least two Asmussen horses already had been evacuated to the quarantine facilities at Keeneland, there are no more quarantine restrictions on any horses still at Churchill. This latest development apparently brings a merciful end to the month-long herpes saga that, at its peak, detained nearly 100 horses.