03/30/2006 1:00AM

Einstein has grown up in a hurry

Bill Denver/ EQUI-PHOTOS
Einstein (right) beat Go Deputy in the Gulfstream BC. They are rematched in the Pan Am.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Not many horses become a Grade 1 winner by just their sixth start. But that's what Einstein did five weeks ago in winning the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap, and even trainer Helen Pitts sometimes finds herself gazing at her stable star in wonderment.

"I've always thought he was special," said Pitts, who will send out Einstein as a major contender Saturday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Pan American Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

, by Spend a Buck, was foaled in Brazil in October 2002, meaning he is a 4-year-old by North American protocol but still 3 in reality. The colt was purchased as a yearling in Brazil by Pitts's former boss, Ken McPeek, who in turn sold him to the Midnight Cry Stable of longtime clients Bill Gallion and Shirley Cunningham of Lexington, Ky.

"Kenny had him training at Palm Meadows last winter when the horse was really only 2," recalled Pitts. "We didn't get him to the races until the fall, but since then, he's done nothing but get better. What's amazing is how much he has matured this winter."

Pitts said after Einstein won his last race she was tempted to take him to Dubai for the $5 million Duty Free, "but as young as he is, he would have been at such a disadvantage."

Instead, Pitts began setting her sights on the Pan Am Handcap, a 1 1/2-mile turf race that she hopes will get Einstein to the trainer's next major goal, the May 6 Woodford Reserve at Churchill Downs.

"We'd be backing him up to 1 1/8 miles, but that's okay because he's so versatile," she said. "As for Saturday, the longer the better. He's tactical, but he also keeps on moving."

Rafael Bejarano, who has ridden Einstein in all six of the colt's starts, will be back aboard Saturday. Probably the top challenger in the Pan Am, which goes as the 10th of 13 Saturday races, is Go Deputy, second by a neck in the Gulf Park BC.

Orchid: Olaya delays her retirement

If not for her last two races at Gulfstream Park, Olaya might not even be in the Grade 3, $150,000 Orchid Handicap (race 8) on Saturday.

"The original intent in sending her over from France was to have her bred," said Graham Motion, who assumed the training of Olaya for Prince Faisal Ahmed last fall. "But knock on wood, if she keeps running as well as she has, the Prince is going to put it off until next year."

Olaya, a 4-year-old Theatrical filly, secured black type last fall in her Stateside debut when she beat older fillies and mares in the Grade 2 Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct. Duly refreshed and regrouped, she has returned with stellar efforts at Gulfstream, winning a high-level allowance on Feb. 6 before finishing second under jockey Edgar Prado as the favorite in the Grade 3 The Very One on March 4.

"I thought that last race was very good," said Motion. "Unfortunately, she broke a step slow and ended up getting shuffled back in a big field, and Edgar realized that he couldn't make up the ground all at once. Overall, I thought she ran really well to barely get beat like she did."

Olaya made the lead in deep stretch in the The Very One, only to be overtaken by a torrid late run by Dynamite Lass, who also is part of an eight-horse lineup in the 1 1/2-mile Orchid, the sister race to the Pan Am.

The probable Orchid favorite is Honey Ryder, who had a breakthrough year in 2005 when she won five races and more than $900,000 for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Glencrest Farm. Among the races Honey Ryder won last year were the Orchid and the Grade 3 Glens Falls at Saratoga.

"We know how tough Todd's filly is because she beat Film Maker in the Glens Falls," said Motion, who trained Film Maker, a Grade 1 winner. "So this will be a very tough race."