What do Thoroughbred racing fans like more than anything else? Many would say a gutsy, veteran iron horse that comes back to the track year after year to give them a show.
Well, good news racing fans. Frank Stronach’s Einstein, the remarkably consistent 7-year-old son of 1986 Horse of the Year Spend a Buck and earner of nearly $3 million, is not done just yet. The seven-time graded stakes winner will return to the track in 2010 for at least one more race, this according to Adena Springs general manager Eric Hamelback.
On Dec. 11, Hamelback confirmed that Einstein would be pointed toward the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) Feb. 6, a race he will attempt to win for the third time. Based on how he comes out of that race, a decision will then be made regarding Einstein’s future. He could continue his racing career or enter stud later in the 2010 season. Right now, the connections, led by trainer Helen Pitts-Blasi, are taking it one race at a time.
“The position Adena has taken has always been to race a good, strong, sound horse as long as possible,” said Hamelback. “From Awesome Again to Ghostzapper to Ginger Punch, that’s how it’s always been. Mr. Stronach enjoys going to the racetrack immensely. It’s very rewarding for him to see a horse of this age put on a good show. And at the end of the day, it’s great for the sport.
“Einstein will go to Gulfstream Park and then we’ll figure out a next step. We’ll keep our options open.”
After Einstein’s uncharacteristically poor showing in the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) Nov. 7 at Santa Anita, many assumed he was just about finished. But Pitts-Blasi examined the dark bay or /brown horse thoroughly after that 11th-place effort and deemed him fit to run three weeks later in the Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.
Einstein responded with a strong effort in the Clark—a race he won in 2008—finishing third after having to break from the unenviable 14 post and then lacking running room in the stretch. He wound up losing to Blame by only a half-length after a late rally. It was that solid showing that convinced the Adena team to send Einstein to Florida for a chance at his sixth grade I win.
“It was unfortunate how the race set up for him (in the Clark); there wasn’t quite that opening in the stretch,” Hamelback said. “But after the race Helen spoke to the jock (Rajiv Maragh, who rode Einstein for the first time) and he said he couldn’t believe how push-button the horse was. He was moving in on the leaders at the end.”
Einstein was bred in Brazil by Fazenda Mondesir and was produced from Brazilian group I winner Gay Charm (by Ghadeer). During his 20009 campaign, he won the $1-million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in March and then captured the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill for the second straight year less than two months later. He was purchased privately by Stronach just before missing by a neck in the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar Sept. 6.
From 30 starts, Einstein has produced an 11-4-4 record with earnings of $2,945,238.