The Brazilian-bred Einstein, given a clever front-running ride by Rafael Bejarano, held off Go Deputy in the stretch to win the $190,000 Gulfstream Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) by a neck in his stakes debut Saturday in South Florida.
Einstein, who had never gone farther than nine furlongs in his previous five starts, got a comfortable spot along the inside while keeping the favorite Gun Salute on his outside through the three-turn, 1 7/16-mile event. Able to set a modest pace, Einstein had something left in the stretch, putting away the grade I winner Gun Salute – making his first start since Oct. 25 – while keeping the hard-charging Go Deputy at bay through the final furlong.
"I didn't really want to be on the lead, but when he got there he was really running comfortably," Bejarano said. "So I let him go on. Then, when I saw (Gun Salute) come alongside, I let him out a little bit, and he gave me everything I wanted the rest of the way."
The final time was 2:23 4/5 for a distance run for the first time on the new Gulfstream Park turf course.
Trained by Helen Pitts for the Midnight Cry Stable, the 4-year-old Spend a Buck colt picked up his third straight win during the Gulfstream meeting. He beat a second-level allowance group at 1 1/8 miles in a front-running effort by seven lengths in his last start Feb. 4 on a sloppy sealed track when he changed his running style after being a dead closer in his four previous races. The dark bay has won two of his three starts on the turf.
"He's still just a baby, but he's got a lot of heart," Pitts said. "He can set the pace, but I think he's versatile. I don't think he's going to develop into a horse that necessarily has to be on the lead."
Pitts said there are a number of options for Einstein, including next month's UAE Derby (UAE-II), which he qualifies for as a 3-year-old by Southern Hemisphere standards.
"Dubai is hard on a horse, but it's a great opportunity to consider," she said.
Einstein, who picked up a winning share of $90,000, has now won four of six starts with earnings of $158,640.
With Gun Salute and Cornelio Velasquez in close attendance while racing about four wide, Einstein posted fractions of :25 3/5, :51 2/5, :1:18 and 1:42 3/5 for the opening mile. After reaching the 10 furlongs in 2:06 2/5, Einstein was still full of fight when tackled by Go Deputy, who had moved into contention on the outside from near the rear of the pack for John Velazquez.
Go Deputy, coming off a second-place finish (beaten by one length) in the 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmada Handicap (gr. IIIT) over the course Jan. 29, couldn't quite reach even terms with the winner but battled gamely to the wire.
Gun Salute, who won the Secretariat (gr. IT) at Arlington Park last summer, held on for third, three lengths behind Go Deputy.
The fifth choice of the public in the eight-horse field, Einstein paid $16.40, $7 and $4. Go Deputy returned $4 and $2.60 while capping a $74.40 exacta. Gun Salute was $3 to show.
Mustanfar, in good position for Javier Castellano throughout, finished 2 1/2 lengths farther back in his first start since June 11. He was followed by Broadway View, Honor in War, Request for Parole and Continuously.