02/03/2007 1:00AM

Einstein has several options


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - One couldn't blame trainer Helen Pitts if she were both disappointed and delighted over Einstein's return to the races here earlier in the week.

Einstein, winner of the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap over the turf here last winter, finished a troubled fourth under jockey Rafael Bejarano while making his first start in nearly nine months against a strong field of high-priced optional claiming rivals on Wednesday.

"He had nowhere to go the entire trip," said Pitts. "He never got loose until the final 10 jumps, and then Rafael could hardly pull him up after the race. It's very frustrating, and as much as this horse wants to run he was probably just as frustrated as the rest of us. Fortunately, he seemed to get a fair amount out of the race, which was the main objective."

Pitts was using Wednesday's race as a prep for Einstein's next start, which will likely come either in defense of his title in the Gulfstream Park BC Handicap on Feb. 24 or one week later over the main track in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap.

"He's been invited to Dubai for the Sheema Classic and we're just not sure yet if we want to make that trip," said Pitts. "I'd like to try him back on dirt again some time this year, which makes the Gulfstream Park Handicap a nice option. But if we do decide to go to Dubai I don't think it would be fair to him to go turf, dirt, and back to the turf, so if that's the case we'll probably just keep him on grass to defend his title in the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup."

Possible showdown in Davona Dale

Both Dreaming of Anna, last year's Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly, and Boca Grande, the impressive winner of the Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct in November, have been nominated to next Saturday's Gradeo2, $150,000 Davona Dale for 3-year-old fillies.

The Davona Dale, at one mile, is expected to mark the first start of the year for Dreaming of Anna.

Boca Grande moved a step closer to her 2007 debut with a half-mile work in 47.40 seconds on Friday here for trainer Shug McGaughey.

High hopes for Barbican

Trainer Eoin Harty thought he had a Kentucky Derby prospect a year ago with Barbican. That hope was short-circuited when Barbican went to the sidelines with an injury that eventually kept him away from the races until this past week, when he returned with a fast-finishing third-place effort in an allowance race going six furlongs, a distance clearly short of his optimum.

"I was very high on him last year, but he cracked a hind sesamoid," Harty said. "Six furlongs was not an ideal spot, but I needed to get a race into him. He's trained like he always does. He doesn't show much in the mornings. He's the world's worst work horse."

Showing Up rolling in sand

Showing Up, who won the Hollywood Derby in his last start, is spending his days lolling in sand. He is being freshened here by trainer Barclay Tagg, who takes Showing Up to an enclosed, round pen in the mornings, and lets him roll in an open sand pit in the afternoon.

"He gets a lot of attention," Tagg said. "He made $1.6 million last year, so I guess he deserves it."

Tagg said Showing Up's first major goal of the year is the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day, June 9.

"I'd like to get a race into him before that," he said.

Birdbirdistheword won't start until March

Birdbirdistheword, who won the Delta Jackpot last fall, probably will not make his 3-year-old debut for at least another month, trainer Kenny McPeek said.

"I'm shooting for something in early March, like the Louisiana Derby," McPeek said at the Palm Meadows training facility, where he is based this winter. "I'm also looking at the Fountain of Youth or the Tampa Bay Derby.

"He was turned out for most of the month of December. He had shipped and run a lot. We gave him 30 days, and he really filled out."

Dubai trip possible for Take D' Tour

Trainer David Fawkes said he couldn't be happier with Take D' Tour's performance in last Saturday's Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita. Take D' Tour, a Grade 1 winner in 2006, finished second to Joint Effort after setting the pace in the Distaff.

"I loved the way she ran," said Fawkes. "She dug in tough after being passed by the winner just to finish second."

Fawkes said Take D' Tour has received an invitation to go to Dubai to face males in the one-mile Dubai Duty Free Stakes on March 31.

"We'll just sit still for a while and see how she comes out of this trip before making any decision about Dubai," Fawkes said.

* A memorial service will be held on Feb. 10 for Hall of Fame trainer Scotty Schulhofer, who died in December. The service, which is open to the public, will be held at 11 a.m. in Serenatas, located on the second floor of the grandstand.

* The late-running stakes sprinter Court Folly worked a half-mile in 52.20 seconds for trainer Ian Wilkes on Friday morning at Palm Meadows.

* Man in Havana, an unraced half-brother to Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 at Palm Meadows for trainer Michael Matz.

* Trainer Nick Zito said that C.P. West, one of his better 2-year-olds last year, needed time off for sore ankles at the end of last year. He began his serious training this year with a three-furlong work in 36.80 seconds at Palm Meadows on Thursday.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman