As we discussed earlier in the week, it’s almost Einstein time. Saturday’s Stephen Foster presents the perfect excuse for my favorite Brazilian-bred to finally get a little corner of the media spotlight, and some publications have duly obliged. There are two great articles about trainer Helen Pitts-Blasi and her ‘best friend in the barn’ and both stories include a few Einstein factoids I had not been previously aware of. To wit:
- Einstein will not actually turn 7 until October (although of course by North American reckoning, he’s been 7 since January 1).
- He gets cooked oats for lunch and dinner.
- Last year’s 9-start season was his fullest so far (after previous years had been interrupted by injury – most notably after his accident in the Dixie, detailed here previously). To put that in perspective, that’s as many starts as Smarty Jones had in his entire career.
- Should he win on Saturday, he will be the first horse to win a G1 on dirt, turf and synthetics in the same year – Lava Man accomplished the feat over three seasons.
And perhaps the biggest surprise:
- He is still not Breeders’ Cup nominated.
One hopes that the court-appointed receiver overseeing his finances sees fit to allow him to head to California this fall (and that he isn’t stuck in another legal morass of the sort that prevented him from running on Belmont day last year) – he and his trainer deserve to be there on racing’s biggest day.
But Arson Squad and Asiatic Boy have both come from Dubai (one returning, one debuting) to make Einstein earn it this weekend – while neither one made much of an impact in the Dubai World Cup (finishing a very, very well beaten in 11th and 12th, respectively), Arson Squad did look more like his old self pre-Dubai in the Donn Handicap – where he finished a few lengths behind Einstein. He’ll get a break in weight this time, though – it’s certainly a factor in his favor – but the Dubai trip remains an issue for him.
It’s impossible to predict how Asiatic Boy will take to Churchill Downs (although it’s hard to see him regaining his previous top form Saturday after the World Cup as his last outing) and it’s always possible that Macho Again and Researcher (with the still-quite-hot Calvin Borel aboard) will make a move in the race; I also find Bullsbay very interesting and could well see him hitting the board.
But we’re confirmed Einstein fans around these parts – here’s hoping he completes his own G1 treble on Saturday.