Midnight Cry Stable's 4-year-old Brazilian-bred Einstein, seeking his fourth straight win this meeting on the Gulfstream Park turf, is the probable favorite in the $150,000 Captain Morgan Pan American Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 12 furlongs.
Rafael Bejarano gets the return call in the field of nine older horses. The Pan American is one of six stakes – three of them graded – on the Florida Derby (gr. I) undercard.
Trained by Helen Pitts, Einstein was an unknown quantity going into this meet, showing only a maiden score at Churchill Downs in three career starts. But the son of Spend a Buck has since reeled off three straight, including the $250,000 Gulfstream Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) last out over the course Feb. 25.
Einstein went wire-to-wire in and was game to hold off Wertheimer et Frere's 6-year-old Go Deputy, who comes back in the Pan American with John Velazquez aboard. The son of Deputy Minister is one of 11 runners on Saturday's card trained by Todd Pletcher, eight of them in stakes races.
Einstein carries top weight at 119 pounds, one more than Go Deputy.
"At a mile-and-a-half, it's anybody's game," said Pitts. "It depends on how it all falls together. Speed is always a big factor, but fortunately I don't think he needs to go to the lead like he did last time. He can do anything. He can sit off the pace, and that's got to be a big thing in his favor."
Pitts is excited about Einstein's progress as he continues to stretch out to longer turf distances.
"It's awesome seeing all the potential he's got," she said. "He's mentally very good and he loves the game, and he has the talent to really take advantage of that. When you've got that combination, it's really exciting."$150,000 Pan American Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 10, 4:38 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Ramazutti (MD), 113, Christopher DeCarlo
2. Broadway View (KY), 114, Eddie Castro
3. Ground Hero (KY), 111, Jeremy Rose
4. Go Deputy (KY), 118, John Velazquez
5. Silver Whistle (KY), 115, Edgar Prado
6. Scooter Roach (IL), 114, Rene Douglas
7. Sabre d'Argent (KY), 115, Javier Castellano
8. El Duque (ARG), 114, Manuel Aguilar
9. Einstein (BRZ), 119, Rafael Bejarano