The son of Spend a Buck won the most prestigious turf race in South Florida in 2006, the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Turf (gr. IT), and may have earned a berth in the $500,000 Donn Handicap to be run Feb. 2, according to trainer Helen Pitts.
"(The Donn) is a possibility, once we see how he comes out of this,” said Pitts after the Jan. 11 victory in a field that included three grade I or group I winners. “This is a very special animal. He got to the lead and wasn’t going to let anyone by. It looks like he did it easily, so we’ll see.”
Of Einstein’s five victories, his two biggest have come on the grass; the 2006 Gulfstream Park Turf win and a victory in the $500,000 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) last March at Fair Grounds. He is also 2-for-3 in dirt races, including an impressive allowance victory over a ‘sloppy’ Gulfstream track in 2006 just prior to his grade I score.
“He’s always seemed to train very well on the dirt, and his race here (on dirt) was phenomenal,” said Pitts. “The big question will be how tough the Donn comes up.”
There is some chance the Donn could pit Einstein against his former stablemate, the presumptive Horse of the Year Curlin, now majority owned by Stonestreet Stable. Pitts developed and trained the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and Breeders’ Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) winner through his first start at Gulfstream last February until he was privately purchased and sent to trainer Steve Asmussen.
“If he was in there, it would not stop me from racing against him,” said Pitts. “At this point in my career, I have the honor to train a horse as good as Einstein. Steve (Asmussen) has done a tremendous job with Curlin, and I’m proud of the time he was in my barn. I will do what I think is right by Einstein.”
Curlin posted an easy workout Jan. 6 at Fair Grounds while issues surrounding his racing and/or breeding career are decided. Asmussen said the 4-year-old Smart Strikecolt would target the $6 million Dubai World Cup Mar. 29 if he remains in training and that the Donn or a race at Fair Grounds could be his prep.