05/20/2009 11:00PM

Einstein will ramp up for a return in Foster


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Some horseplayers start getting concerned when a horse doesn't have a workout for several weeks after a race.

But when asked why the Churchill Downs clockers had not put their watches on Einstein lately, trainer Helen Pitts basically said, "No worries."

Einstein, the top older male in Daily Racing Form's Watchmaker Watch, will work each of the next three Sundays in preparation for the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap on June 13.

"He'll breeze a half-mile Sunday, five-eighths the next Sunday, and a half the next Sunday," said Pitts.

The Foster, a $600,000 race run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track, will be the first race for Einstein since the exceptionally versatile Brazilian-bred won the May 2 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill, marking his second straight win in that Grade 1 turf race.

"He really is doing great," said Pitts. "I've got six weeks between races with him. I don't want to overdo it, although he doesn't like not running and gets a little mad when he doesn't do enough."

Pitts said the Foster could be followed by the Aug. 7 Arlington Million on turf, then the Sept. 6 Pacific Classic on synthetic at Del Mar.

Trainer returns from Saudi Arabia

Back in America after a lengthy stint training a large stable for the ruling family of Saudi Arabia, Jere R. Smith Jr. will run his first starter on this continent in more than five years when he saddles Final Copy for the sixth race Saturday at Churchill.

Smith was a fixture for more than two decades on the Chicago circuit, where his father was a perennial leading trainer. In the spring of 2004, the same year that Jere R. Smith Sr. died, the younger Smith accepted an opportunity to train for the family of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and his sons.

"There was definitely a change in lifestyle," said Smith, 47. "Overall, it was very good for me. I made my share of money, and the royal family helped me put my son through college," he said, noting that Jere R. Smith 3rd graduated last week from the University of Houston.

Smith said he longed for American-style racing, which is one reason he returned.

"I love the game and I'm enthusiastic about it," he said. "This game is fun for me. It's my life. People who grew up in it, like myself, maybe they're not happy with the way it is now, but I think it'll be back."

Smith said he is looking to claim five to 10 horses for himself while also rebuilding a public stable and following a circuit to include tracks in Kentucky, Indiana, and Louisiana.

From 1981 to 2004, Smith won 705 races from 3,949 starters.

For the sixth race Saturday, Smith actually has entered two horses he recently claimed, Final Copy and Shilah, but said he will scratch the latter.

Advice ready to try turf

Advice, 13th in the Kentucky Derby after winning the Coolmore Lexington Stakes in his previous start, began gearing up for a move to grass racing when breezing an easy half-mile Tuesday morning over the Churchill turf in 50.80 seconds.

Advice, owned by WinStar Farm and trained by Todd Pletcher, is being pointed to the $150,000 Jefferson Cup on the Foster undercard.

Kentucky Oaks connections

There is a distinct Kentucky Oaks slant to the last race Saturday, a maiden special weight route that drew a field of eight 3-year-old colts and geldings.

Valerian, a first-time starter owned by Mill Ridge Farm, is out of the 1998 Oaks winner, Keeper Hill, while Don Gato, making his second start for trainer Ian Wilkes, is out of Here I Go, the dam of the 2005 Oaks winner, Summerly.

* Red-hot jockey Calvin Borel will be the special guest this Saturday in the Churchill paddock for the new "Get in the Game" handicapping seminar, hosted every Saturday by Jill Byrne. The session starts at noon and will last about 25 minutes.

* Apprentice rider Freddie Lenclud will make his North American debut Saturday when he rides longshot Causation in the seventh race for trainer Phil Thomas Jr. Lenclud hails from France, where he rode in a handful of races before moving overseas.

* Iron Butterfly, rising out of back-to-back claiming victories, drew clear to win the first of three allowance races Thursday at Churchill. Ridden by Jon Court, Iron Butterfly returned $12 after finishing six furlongs in 1:10.90. Peisinoe, the odds-on favorite, faded to fifth after setting a swift pace.