Stronach Stable’s Einstein, one of the top American hopes for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita, zipped a fast five furlongs at Churchill Downs on Sunday, Oct. 25 in the veteran star’s final pre-race training move over his home track.
Jockey Julien Leparaoux was aboard the seven-year-old son of 1985 Kentucky Derby (GI) winner Spend A Buck as he covered the distance over a “fast” track in :59.80 under jockey Julien Leparoux. The work by the Brazlian-bred star was the fastest of 54 at the distance and was accomplished in the company of a pair of 2-year-old stablemates from the barn of trainer Helen Pitts.
Einstein was timed in fractions of :23.80 and :36, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.80. After he passed his workmates Einstein took aim on another horse that happened to be working in front of him during his run through the stretch.
“We started about three or four lengths behind, but I caught them at the three-eighths pole and he finished very strong to the wire,” said Leparoux. “It was perfect. It was a very nice breeze. He is strong and he’s going to be ready for the Breeders’ Cup.”
“I just wanted to give him something to keep him interested,” said Pitts of her decision to send Einstein out with workmates. “He works good on his own, but he gets bored doing it. He likes being able to run at something in the mornings – he likes clocking something and running past them. I thought he would get a better work out of it, and it gives him a lot more interest. When he gets to about the quarter pole he loves bearing down and running by somebody.”
Pitts said Einstein would leave for California on Tuesday and would have only one major work over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita.
“I just wanted him to have a good, fun, happy breeze today,” Pitts said. “When he gets out there he’ll just have an easy half. The hard part is done now.”
The versatile Einstein won the prestigious Santa Anita Handicap (GI) over the Pro-Ride footing earlier this year and has won the last two renewals of Churchill Downs’ Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI). He rolled to an easy victory last fall in the Clark Handicap (GII) over traditional dirt at Churchill Downs and was a troubled third behind Macho Again in this year’s Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at the Louisville track.
Einstein, who was purchased this summer by Stronach Stables, will attempt to snap a three-race losing streak in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He was edged by Richard’s Kid in his most recent start in the Pacific Classic (GI) over synthetic Polytrack footing at Del Mar.
“I’m excited about it,” said Pitts. “Why not take a shot at it? He likes that track out there and who knows? Every Grade I in this country is tough, let alone the Breeders’
Cup, but if anybody deserves a shot, he does. I think he’s tough right now. He’s matured a lot and I think he’s doing great now.”
Pitts’ star has a career record of 11-4-3 in 28 races and has earned $2,903,324.
Einstein is one of 10 horses that Leparoux is scheduled to ride in the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 6-7.
"He loves the game – he loves to run,” Leparoux said of his Classic mount. “He’ll always give 110 percent – that’s one of the great things about riding him.”
FIELDS TAKE SHAPE FOR IROQUOIS, POCAHONTAS ON ‘STARS OF TOMORROW’ OPENING DAY PROGRAM – Rosters of promising young stars are forming to compete in the Iroquois and Pocahontas Stakes, the $100,000-added Grade III events that will headline the “Stars of Tomorrow” program of races for 2-year-olds that will open Churchill Downs’ 21-day Fall Meet on Sunday, Nov. 1.
Likely contenders for the 41st running of the one-mile Pocahontas include Cradle Stakes winner Gleam of Hope; Piscitelli, third in the Arlington-Washington Futurity (GIII); Three Day Rush, winner of Monmouth Park’s NATC Futurity; Razorback Futurity winner Comedero; Brassy Boy, third in the Bashford Manor (GIII); Call Shot; Callide Valley; Soaring Empire and You Already Know.
Westrock Stable’s Debutante (GIII) winner Decelerator, Bassinet winner All About Anna; Adirondack (GII) runner-up Sassy Image, and unbeaten Miss Indiana Stakes winner Running Bride top the list of likely starters in the one-mile Pocahontas for 2-year-old fillies.
Others include All Due Respect, Biorra, Gold Dust Lady, Happy Week, Snap Happy and Tidal Pool.
WORK TAB (Track: FAST) – Ruffian (GI) winner Swift Temper breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 for trainer Dale Romans … Debutante (GIII) winner Decelerator, a candidate for next week’s $100,000-added Pocahontas (GIII), breezed four furlongs in :48.80 … Flying Pegasus breezed three furlongs in :38 … Indygo Mountain worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 … Kentucky Cup Classic (GII) runner-up Dubious Miss breezed five furlongs in 1:00.