Patricia Cunningham and Melissa Green’s Einstein (BRZ), who had failed to win in two previous starts in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI), made his third attempt a victorious one Saturday, taking the 22nd running of the $548,300 race at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Robby Albarado, who posted his third victory in the race, and trained by Helen Pitts, Einstein surged home a length in front of Out of Control (BRZ) with Artiste Royal (IRE) another length back in third. Einstein covered the mile and an eighth on “good” turf in 1:50.50.
Thorn Song, ridden by John Velazquez, set the pace, owning a daylight advantage while carving out fractions of :24.68 and :49.18. As the field of seven approached the far turn, Duveen, under Edgar Prado, made the first move and was quickly followed on the outside by Einstein, who assumed command at the head of the stretch.
As the favorite, Einstein returned mutuels of $6.40, $3.80 and $2.80. Out of Control, ridden by Garrett Gomez, returned $4.80 and $3.40, while Artiste Royal, under Rafael Bejarano, paid $3.60 to show.
The victory was worth $333,147 and made the six-year-old son of 1985 Kentucky Derby winner Spend a Buck a millionaire with earnings of $1,107,929. Einstein has won eight of 18 career starts. He had run fourth in the 2006 race and finished seventh in last year’s renewal.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2008. The track’s 2008 Spring Meet runs from April 26 through July 6. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record six times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
STAKES QUOTES: THE WOODFORD RESERVE TURF CLASSIC
Robby Albarado (winning jockey, Einstein) – “This year he’s just double game. He’s doing things easy. He’s willing and able out there. He wants to be close to the pace and get them that way rather than coming in the backdoor. He’s giving himself a better chance to do well. When that other horse (Out of Control) came to him today, he just dug back in. Helen (trainer Helen Pitts) has done a terrific job with him. He’s a winner.”
Helen Pitts (winning trainer, Einstein) – “We’ll just see how he comes out of it. It’s a long year. The Arlington Million would be an ultimate goal, but I think he needs a break now for him to be ready and on top of his game by the Arlington Million, whether it’s one race from now or two races from now. We’ll see how he comes out of it. He’s one that loves the game.
“He’s very versatile. You can run him short, and you can run him long. He adjusts to pace, no pace. Whatever the situation is, he deals with it. He’s the love of my life.”
“It (the race) set up ideally, starting out, then he actually dropped back a little bit on the backside. I figured Robby (Albarado) knew what he was doing, and obviously he did. It all came out for the best.”
Garrett Gomez (jockey, Out of Control, 2nd) – “He traveled well as long as he was up underneath the hold, but as soon I needed him to really go ahead and sprint for home, ground was just soft enough that it got away from him. Certain horses get across it a little better when they go to sprinting than others. It kept getting away from him and he kept struggling with it the last eighth of a mile. Before I moved him out, I thought I had him.
“I got within a half a length of him and he was over-trying a little bit and the ground started getting away from him just enough where I think it cost him.
Rafael Bejarano (jockey, Artiste Royal, 3rd) – “The horse likes to come from behind so I put him in the position. We didn’t see much speed in the race, so I started getting closer from the half mile. My horse, he showed me some finish in the end, but the horse that was the winner never stopped. He was still running.
Ramon Dominguez (jockey, Yate’s Black Cat, 4th) – “We had a good trip. We got a good run today. No complaints.”
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