12/01/2008 12:00AM

Einstein will focus on turf in future

Einstein ran well enough on dirt to win the Grade 2 Clark last Friday, but he will be pointed to the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap for his next start.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Einstein, winner of the Clark Handicap last Friday, probably will return to grass for his next start in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap on Feb. 1, said trainer Helen Pitts.

Einstein capped a terrific season in winning the Clark, the annual fall-meet highlight at Churchill Downs. From 8 starts in 2008, the Brazilian-bred Einstein had 4 wins, including three in Grade 1 company, and 3 seconds, bringing his career bankroll to $1,634,020.

"I've never had a horse who loves his job as much as he does," said Pitts.

Einstein already has won the Gulfstream Turf twice, in 2006 and 2008. Pitts said the horse primarily will race primarily on grass next year, when he will be 7, although the main track at Churchill is an option. Besides winning the Clark, Einstein also ran second to Curlin on the Churchill dirt in June.

"This would probably be the only place I'd consider it, and that's only because he likes it here so much," she said.

Einstein will continue racing in the name of Matthew Garretson, the court-appointed receiver for former owners Midnight Cry Stable, the racing entity owned by Shirley Cunningham and William Gallion, the disbarred attorneys who are at the center of the highly publicized fen-phen diet drug scandal.

Einstein, ridden by Julien Leparoux, earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the Clark by 1 1/2 lengths over Delightful Kiss, with Commentator, the 2-5 favorite, fading to third.

Rachel Alexander earns 99 Beyer

Perhaps the best performance from the other three Grade 2 stakes that ended the Churchill meet was the stakes-record run by Rachel Alexandra in the closing-day co-feature, the Golden Rod Stakes on Saturday. The 2-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra finished 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.08, lowering the mark of 1:43.59 set last year by Pure Clan.

Rachel Alexandra earned a 99 Beyer in the victory. Wiggins said the filly will leave soon with the rest of his stable for Oaklawn Park, "although I'm not sure if she'll make her first start of the year there in Hot Springs or at the Fair Grounds."

Other Beyer numbers from the weekend: Beethoven got a 90 in outlasting Giant Oak and Capt. Candyman Can in the Kentucky Jockey Club, and Miss Isella got an 88 in the Falls City.

Both Beethoven and Miss Isella will winter in Florida.

Several big-name trainers go winless

Among trainers, the fall meet clearly was a case of haves and have-nots.

While Mike Maker easily broke the former record for wins at a fall meet by winning 31 races, his former longtime boss, D. Wayne Lukas, was among the notable names shut out at the meet.

Lukas, the Hall of Famer who has won or tied for 11 Churchill titles, went 0 for 34. Other highly decorated trainers who endured a winless fall meet were Bob Holthus (32 starts), Frank Brothers (24), David Vance (23), and Nick Zito (17), another Hall of Famer whose disappointments included Commentator in the Clark.

Maker, with just 80 starters, broke the fall-meet record of 20 wins set in 2003 by Dale Romans. Ken McPeek was second with 18 wins, while Romans was third with 15 winners.

Maker was part of an incredible triangle throughout the meet. His main client, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, won 24 races, while his main jockey, Leparoux, rode 63 winners. Those totals also were fall-meet records in their respective categories.

Curlin looks as fit as ever

Trainer Steve Asmussen and assistant Scott Blasi were among those wearing proud smiles after the fifth race Saturday. That's when Curlin, looking as fit and dappled as ever, was paraded before an appreciative Churchill crowd in the paddock and winner's circle.

Asmussen, accompanied by his wife, Julie, and three sons, was presented with a framed portrait during a brief tribute. Both Asmussen and Barbara Banke, the wife of owner Jess Jackson, addressed the crowd on the public-address system.

"He was an incredible horse who changed all of our lives," said Asmussen.

Curlin, the all-time earnings leader in North American racing history, will soon head off for stud duty at Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Ky.

Early rankness hurt Capt. Candyman Can

Capt. Candyman Can might have been best in the KJC. Noticeably rank through the early stages despite Leparoux's best efforts to get him to settle, Capt. Candyman Can still had a chance to win in deep stretch before finally tiring from his early efforts.

"If we can work on those little things and get him to do things right, everything might be okay," said trainer Ian Wilkes. "Overall I'm very, very happy with him."

Secret Gypsy may try La Brea

Secret Gypsy, a runaway winner of an allowance last Thursday at Churchill, might make her next start in the seven-furlong La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita, said trainer Ronny Werner.

"That's what we're thinking over," said Werner.

The Grade 1, $250,000 La Brea is set for Dec. 27.

Banged-up Mena collects riding triple

Miguel Mena played through pain Saturday, and it paid off with three winners. Mena won the Grand Canyon on Proceed Bee and two allowance races after being in a spill the previous day.

Despite a bad knee bruise and other sore body parts, "I didn't want to miss the opportunities," said Mena, who rides next at Fair Grounds.

* Longshots dominated part of the Sunday opening-day card at Turfway Park to the extent that 2 out of 3 was good enough in a rolling pick three from races 3 through 5. Those races were won by Little Bit of This ($30.20), Sultry Pleasure ($50.20), and Ribit ($50.80).

* Patchen Prince, one of the few Thoroughbreds ever registered as "white" with The Jockey Club, will make his fifth career start Thursday night at Turfway in the sixth race, a $22,000 maiden special-weight sprint.