Second of June Out of Stephen Foster

Barbara Cesare's Second of June, runner-up in the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II), has been knocked out of Saturday's Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs an ailment in the colt's left hind ankle.

Trainer Bill Cesare said the 4-year-old son of Louis Quatorze was suffering from what is known as an osselet, which is a collection of the lubricating fluid in the joint that causes inflammation and a minor swelling, or "wind puff." Cesare decided to pull Second of June from consideration for the Foster after consulting with veterinarian Dr. Larry Bramlage, who said the colt would require some time off.

"Doc Bramlage said a couple of months, but he'll probably be off 60 to 90 days or something like that," said Cesare. "It's an irritation of the joint. We never really had an issue with it, but I guess it was something coming and it just happened at the wrong time."

The timing of the discovery of the problem is even more frustrating because the Stephen Foster Handicap was the reason that Cesare had come north from his Florida base with Second of June and three other horses for the Churchill Downs Spring Meet.

During his weeks here, Cesare's stable was caught up in the track's equine herpes quarantine and one of his 2-year-olds died from the ailment.

The quarantine also knocked Second of June out of a planned start in the Pimlico Special (gr. I) on May 19, but he had been training sharply for the Stephen Foster.

"He'd been doing real good," said Cesare. "I'd been looking forward to running. That's why we came here, we were looking forward to running in this race. I guess we'll have to try next year."

Second of June goes to the sidelines with a record of 4-4-1 in 11 races and earnings of $385,400. Despite the disappointment, Cesare was relieved to have discovered the problem before it could become more serious.

"He could have snapped it off or something in a race, you never can tell," he said. "It's unfortunate, but everything looks good. Doc Bramlage said he should be fine."

The defection of Second of June leaves the 24th running of the Stephen Foster with a field of likely starters that includes the Bobby Frankel-trained duo of Saint Liam and Badge of Silver, 2003 Foster winner Perfect Drift, 2004 Foster winner Colonial Colony, Eurosilver, M B Sea and Gouldings Green.