Compared to the troubled trip he got in last year's edition of the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Turf (gr. IT) (VIDEO), Einstein's victory in the Feb. 23 event was a relative romp.
The Midnight Cry Stables runner may not have a flawless record (he finished third in the 1 3/8-mile event in 2007), but there’s one thing the son of Spend a Buck has proven – when he’s game, he’s very game. The Helen Pitts trainee held on over a field of 10 starters on the Gulfstream lawn to claim his second victory in the Turf, which he also won in 2006.
Einstein’s last effort, a tired sixth-place finish in the Donn Handicap (gr. I), raised a few questions about the future of his 6-year-old campaign. But when Pitts sent her contender through a quick five-furlong drill Feb. 18, he responded with a time of :59.80, the second fastest of 24 works recorded at the distance on that day. Apparently, the sharpening was just what Einstein needed.
Under jockey Jose Lezcano, Einstein conserved energy, although forwardly placed behind the front-running Thorn Song and pace-presser Shamdinan. As Thorn Song led through quick fractions of :23.80 for the quarter and :47.44 for the half, Einstein moved into second. They went three-quarters in 1:11.95 with Dave running fourth. They went a mile in 1:36.08 and headed into the far turn with Thorn Song still on the lead, but Einstein gained the advantage coming into the stretch.
“I was concerned that he was up close with the fractions that fast,” said Pitts. “I wasn’t real happy when they posted (1:11:95 for three-quarters), but he’s a very good horse and was able to go on.”
“I wanted to sit in second, but it was slow going, so I went to the front," Lezcano said. "Helen told me he could come from anywhere… the front, the back, the middle. He was very nice to ride.”
Set down to the task by Lezcano, Einstein drew off to a one-length lead, but 35-1 shot Dancing Forever was closing quickly on the outside after finding running room at the head of the stretch. They headed for the wire, going 1 1/4-miles in 2:01.11, and Einstein held on to claim the victory by a neck. It was three lengths back to Stream of Gold, who finished evenly to gain the show after making a bid six wide.
“It was a great race,” Pitts said. “I did have some question early in the week whether to run in this race because we really want to go back to New Orleans for the race he won there last year (March 8 Mervin Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap, gr. IIT), but he was doing so well we decided to go ahead. We’ll see how he comes out of this before we decide whether to go back to New Orleans in just two weeks. We’ll do the right thing for him.”
Sent off at odds of 3-1, Einstein returned $8, $5, and $3.60. Dancing Forever paid $21.40 and $9.60 under jockey Rene Douglas, and Stream of Gold brought $2.80 to show for jockey Eddie Castro. Cougar Bay, Zann, Dave, Palace Episode, Thorn Song, Shamdinan, and Notable Guest completed the order of finish.
Bred in Brazil by Fazenda Mondesir out of the Ghadeer mare Gay Charm, Einstein now has seven wins and one show from sixteen starts. His earnings total $714,782.