01/11/2008 12:00AM

Einstein scores comeback win

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Einstein made a successful and impressive return from an eight-month layoff, leading throughout under jockey Edgar Prado to defeat a graded-stakes-quality field in Friday's $59,500 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park.

Einstein had not raced since losing his rider during the accident-marred Dixie Stakes at Pimlico on May 19. The winner of the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap here two years ago, Einstein set modest fractions while pressed from the outset by Salinja in the one-mile race that also drew Group 1 winners Palace Episode and Elusive Fort, along with Hotstufanthensome, Minister's Joy, and Touched by Madness.

Einstein and Salinja continued to race as a team into the stretch. Einstein gradually edged clear nearing the eighth pole, then maintained a safe advantage while fully extended, winning by a length. Salinja held on well to finish second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of Palace Episode. Einstein, trained by Helen Pitts, covered a mile in 1:33.26 over a firm turf course and paid $5.40.

"I was second-guessing myself a little for putting him in this spot, because it came up so tough," said Pitts. "He's a very special animal, and when he's in front like that he's not going to let anybody get by. And Edgar couldn't have ridden him any more beautifully."

Pitts said she will consider several options for Einstein's next start, including putting him back on dirt for the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 2.