08/04/2008 11:00PM

Einstein enters Million amid best year


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Okay, so he's not exactly a throwback to 50 years ago, when a racehorse was liable to run two times in a week. But in this age of declining activity, Einstein looks like an iron horse.

Einstein shipped by van from Churchill Downs to Arlington Park on Monday and will start here Saturday in the Arlington Million, which will draw between eight and 10 horses when entries are taken Wednesday morning. Cosmonaut, one of the pre-entrants, is unlikely to ship for the race; Out of Control, another pre-entry, may or may not come from New York.

August, of course, is the eighth month of the year, and this will mark Einstein's eighth start of 2008, more than any horse in the Million save Silverfoot, who also will be racing for the eighth time this season. But where Silverfoot has started in Grade 3 stakes and below on turf, Einstein has run in five Grade 1's and a Grade 2, raced between eight and 11 furlongs on both turf and dirt, and gone into battle with the country's best dirt horse, Curlin, and best middle-distance turf horse, Kip Deville, finishing second to both of them.

He also has won two Grade 1 races this year, the Gulfstream Park Turf and the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill.

"He's as honest as they come," said trainer Helen Pitts, who has overseen Einstein's career from Day 1. "I've never been around a horse who loves the game, loves what he does, as much as he does. He loves life: Whether you're breezing or racing, he's ready to go."

Einstein's excellent campaign comes on the heels of a less fortunate season. In the Dixie Handicap in spring 2007 at Pimlico, Einstein was trailing a horse that went down, and in hurdling the fallen foe he bruised the outside of his splint bone. The injury required plenty of rest, and Einstein didn't start again until this past winter, but he came back better than ever. Only once in his seven races this year has Einstein been worse than second, and his sixth-place finish in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream came in unsuitable conditions.

"The Donn, that wasn't his kind of dirt track, but he loves Churchill," Pitts said.

It was there that Einstein showed he could produce a strong race on dirt, finishing second to Curlin in the Stephen Foster, although that effort was not on par with his best turf races.

Now, new horizons: Einstein has never raced at Arlington before, nor has he traveled the country all that much seeking out top grass races. A 6-year-old bred on South American time in Brazil, Einstein may yet have a chance to increase his stature.

"I don't see why he wouldn't come back next year," Pitts said. "I mean shoot, he's just getting good right now."

Gio Ponti passes on Secretariat

Tizdejavu became the likely favorite for Saturday's Secretariat Stakes on Tuesday without doing much of anything.

Tizdejavu is based at trainer Greg Fox's farm next to the Thoroughbred Training Center outside Lexington, Ky., but out East at Saratoga, trainer Christophe Clement confirmed that Gio Ponti, who probably would have been favored in the race, would not ship here this week for the Secretariat.

Gio Ponti did not work again Tuesday morning, his connections resigned to the unfortunate fact that the Secretariat falls just 20 days after the Virginia Derby, which Gio Ponti gallantly won in his most recent race.

"To go to the race, everything would've had to be absolutely perfect," Clement said. "Now, we will point for the Del Mar Derby or the Kent Breeders' Cup."

Clement said Gio Ponti, whose only loss came in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, could return to the work tab this weekend.

Tizdejavu, meanwhile, is "doing extremely well," Fox said Monday afternoon. Unbeaten in his three grass races, Tizdejavu was a front-running winner of the American Derby here last month and has thrived in the time leading to the Secretariat.

He worked a half-mile in 47.40 seconds on Saturday.

"I'm very, very pleased with this whole cycle of training up to his race," Fox said. "His work Saturday was well within himself, and he finished in a stunning way. He went his last three-eighths in under 35 seconds."

Fox said Tizdejavu will follow the same schedule he did for the American Derby, leaving home Wednesday night with an Arlington arrival very early Thursday morning.

Rosinka aims to bounce back in Beverly D.

Victory as a prohibitive favorite was supposed to be the perfect set-up for Rosinka on her road to the Grade 1 Beverly D.

But a disappointing third-place finish as the 1-5 favorite in the July 12 Dick Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park certainly was not what trainer Graham Motion had in mind. Nonetheless, Motion is undeterred, and Rosinka will be in the lineup Saturday when the 19th running of the $750,000 Beverly D. is held at 1 3/16 miles on the Arlington turf.

"I don't think I can hold that last race against her, honestly," Motion said Tuesday from Saratoga. "It ended up being a race where she was a little too fresh off a [five-week] layoff, and she goes pretty quickly, never really got a chance to settle. I'm not sure she ever got a chance to run her race."

Rosinka, a 5-year-old Irish-bred mare owned by The Lavington Stud, tends to run on or near the lead, and she set a relatively fast pace in the 1 3/8-mile Dick Memorial before tiring to third in a six-horse field. She had won 5 of her 6 previous starts, with the only loss during that terrific span being a runner-up finish behind Lahudood in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl last fall at Belmont Park.

Rosinka is one of eight, maybe nine, fillies and mares who were expected to be entered Wednesday in the Beverly D. The probable favorites are Precious Kitten, Mauralakana, and Dreaming of Anna in a field that also will include Communique, Meribel, and a pair of European invaders, Cicerole and Toque de Queda. One locally based filly, Ciao, was being listed as a possible starter by Arlington racing officials.

"With all those really nice fillies in there, I realize this is an extremely competitive spot," Motion said. "But the way she's doing in the morning, I'm not down on her at all, that's for sure."

The early pace scenario for the Beverly D. most likely will mix Rosinka and Dreaming of Anna, with Precious Kitten tracking closest. The others tend to rate farther behind.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee