02/17/2007 1:00AM

Dr. Einstein fulfilling his potential P


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Horses, perhaps even more than people, are known by the company they keep. Nobody in Monday's $50,000-added Presidents' Day Handicap at Bay Meadows has been keeping better company of late than Dr. Einstein, who is the 118-pound highweight in the field of six.

In two of his previous four starts, Dr. Einstein has run second to millionaire McCann's Mojave, who just won the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic. Dr. Einstein won the other two races. He's looking for his first stakes victory.

Dr. Einstein, 4, is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who also sends out the stakes winner Passive Income. Hollendorfer said he always had confidence in Dr. Einstein, although last year he ranked him below his Derby entrant Cause to Believe and Passive Income.

"Some take longer, but we stuck with him," Hollendorfer said. "We just always liked him. If we didn't, we would have dropped him into a claimer."

Dr. Einstein returned from a six-week layoff to lead wire to wire and beat older horses in an optional claimer at Golden Gate Fields on Oct. 9. Two months later he set the pace and lost a head bob to McCann's Mojave in the slop in a Bay Meadows optional claimer. He set the pace before running second again to McCann's Mojave in the Union Square Dec. 26, opening day of the Golden Gate winter meet. Then he gamely held off My Creed, one of Monday's rivals, in an allowance race at Golden Gate last month. Dr. Einstein put away Eclipse winner Declan's Moon early in that race.

Dr. Einstein won't get an easy lead Monday with the speedy Roscoe Pito breaking from the rail. Roscoe Pito was a wire-to-wire winner last year in the Independence Day Handicap at Emerald Downs and also led the whole trip in winning a stakes at Hastings in 2005.

He comes off a third-place finish behind Sunshine Millions Sprint winner Smokey Stover and Fairfax Handicap winner Vaderator in his first start following a five-month layoff.

"He did get into a bit of trouble in that race," said trainer John Snow, who said that last race was strictly a prep. "He's ready to go, and if it comes up a little rainy, it will help him."

My Creed has lost by close margins to Dr. Einstein in his past two starts. A closer, he would benefit from a pace duel. The same holds true of Passive Income, who looks likely to get a first-run trip on the leaders and has worked steadily since a poor performance in the Union Square.