Remarkable 7-year-old Einstein continued his amazing run on May 2 at Churchill Downs, outdueling Cowboy Cal in the stretch to win the $557,600 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) (VIDEO) by a head under Julien Leparoux. The Helen Pitts-Blasi trainee became the first horse to repeat in the prestigious event.
Adding to his already sensational resume, Brazilian-bred Einstein captured his fifth grade I race as the 9-5 favorite. The son of Spend a Buck, out of the Ghadeer mare Gay Charm, upped his earnings to $2,609,904 with the winner's share of $331,884. Einstein is owned by Matthew Garretson, who is the court-appointed receiver for the Midnight Cry Stables of Shirley Cunningham and William Gallion.
"I'm not going to say he's the best horse in the country," Pitts-Blasi said. "I'll let you know on Nov. 6. The Breeders' Cup (Classic) is a possibility. But I'm very proud of him today. He's a special animal."
Einstein rated off the pace set by set by Thorn Song, content to sit fifth through the backstretch while the leader clicked of fractions of :23.87, :48.40 and 1:12.34. Cowboy Cal received the perfect stalking trip under John Velazquez, with Proudinsky and Zambezi Sun also up close in the early going.
Angling six wide entering the stretch, Einstein met Cowboy Cal at the top of the lane, where they began their stirring stretch duel. Racing on the outside, Cowboy Cal had a narrow lead, but Einstein stuck a nose in front in deep stretch and gamely held on until the wire. The final time for 1 1/8 miles on a turf course rated good was 1:49.62.
"He's a fighter; he always tries, but you can tell he is not as comfortable on (soft) turf as he is on Polytrack or firm turf, " said Leparoux. "We got a good trip and we saved ground. The only time I had to really work was at the three-eighths pole."
Hard-luck loser Cowboy Cal, who was searching for his first grade I score, settled for runner-up, 2 3/4 lengths better than third-place Court Vision. Zambezi Sun was fourth in a field of nine.
Einstein entered the race off a one-length victory in the March 7 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) on the Pro-Ride surface. In November, he scored in the Clark Handicap (gr. II) on the Churchill dirt. The dark bay’s victory in last year’s Woodford came by a length under Robby Albarado.
Einstein is now 11-3-2 from 25 lifetime starts. He was bred by Fazenda Mondesir.
Sent off as the 9-5 choice, Einstein paid $5.60, $3.60 and $2.80. Cowboy Cal returned $7 and $3.80. Court Vision was $3.60 to show. The exacta (6-8) returned $38.20 and the trifecta (6-8-2) was $119.60.
It was 1 1/2 lengths to Zambezi Sun, who was followed by Thorn Song, Proudinsky, El Caballo, Furthest Land and Yare's Black Cat. Artiste Royal scratched.