02/25/2008 12:00AM

Einstein gives Pitts another turf triumph

Eleanor Gustafson/NYRA
Einstein holds off longshot Dancing Forever to win the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - For the second time in three years, trainer Helen Pitts looked like a genius for running Einstein in the Grade 1, $273,000 Gulfstream Park Turf. The decision to run on Saturday was not made until earlier this week, but it proved the right choice as Einstein held off longshot Dancing Forever to win the 1 3/8-mile grass race under Jose Lezcano.

Einstein ($8), the second choice, was right off the early pace, took the lead entering the lane, then was fully extended to prevail, winning by a neck. Stream of Gold, the 5-2 favorite, was another three lengths back in third. Einstein completed the distance on a firm course 2:12.87.

Edgar Prado had ridden Einstein in his last two starts, but, according to Pitts, he committed to ride in a stakes race at Tampa on Saturday before she was certain Einstein would run here. As a result, Lezcano picked up the mount.

Einstein, a native of Brazil, won this race in 2006, then was third a year ago. After last year's race, he went to Fair Grounds and won the Mervin Muniz Handicap. Earlier this week, Pitts was not sure whether to head straight to New Orleans, bypassing the Gulfstream Park Turf, or run Saturday and then decide about going to the Muniz, which is March 8.

"We'll see how he comes out of it and go from there," Pitts said. "If it took too much out of him, we'll wait. I don't want to beat him up the first three months of the year."

Einstein stalked pacesetter Thorn Song through early fractions of 23.80 seconds, 47.44, 1:11.95, and 1:36.08 for the first mile. When Thorn Song faded at the top of the stretch, Einstein inherited the lead. Stream of Gold made a bid while wide, but flattened out. Shamdinan, caught wide on all three turns, retreated to finish ninth.

But Dancing Forever, the longest shot in the 10-horse field at 37-1, made it close. After being caught in traffic while going around the final turn, he finished sharply after finally getting a clear run inside the furlong pole.

Einstein, 6, has now won 7 times in 16 starts, and is 5 for 12 on turf. He was sixth in the Donn Handicap in his last start on Feb. 2.

"He's got a quicker turn of foot on the grass," said Pitts, who trains Einstein for Midnight Cry Stable.