11/21/2009 1:00AM

Maragh will ride Einstein in Clark

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Barbara D. Livingston
Einstein will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh in Friday's Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs because Julien Leparoux will be in Japan.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Rajiv Maragh has been named by trainer Helen Pitts to ride Einstein in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap on Friday at Churchill Downs.

Maragh, a rising star based in New York, replaces Julien Leparoux, who has ridden Einstein in each of the horse's last eight races. Leparoux was unavailable because of commitments to ride in Japan this coming weekend.

Pitts said Einstein "is an easy horse to ride, so getting somebody to replace Julien wasn't that big a deal." Furthermore, the Clark almost certainly will be the 30th and final career start for Einstein, a Brazilian-bred 7-year-old who is scheduled to begin his stud career next year at Adena Springs Farm.

Maragh, a 24-year-old native of Jamaica, is enjoying the best year of his career, with mount earnings of more than $11.4 million going into Saturday. Pitts said she had multiple offers last week from various jockeys and their agents before finally settling Friday on Maragh.

Einstein, who received the top assignment of 123 pounds when weights were released Friday by the Churchill racing office, is one of about 11 3-year-olds and up expected for the $400,000 Clark. Entries will be drawn Tuesday.

The other probables, with weights, are: Macho Again, 121; Etched, 120; Bullsbay, 119; Kiss the Kid, 118; Blame, 117; Anak Nakal, 116; Dubious Miss, 116; Giant Oak, 115; You and I Forever, 115; and Timber Reserve, 114.

The Clark, the annual fall-meet showcase, is one of five graded stakes that end the 21-day meet. The others are the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap on Thursday, the Grade 3 River City on Friday, and the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club and Grade 2 Golden Rod on the closing-day "Stars of Tomorrow" card Saturday.

Entries for the $150,000 Falls City were to be drawn Sunday and the millionaire mares Swift Temper and Unbridled Belle will dominate pre-race speculation. The pair are co-highweighted at 122 pounds for the 1 1/8-mile race.

Others considered probable or possible for the Thanksgiving Day feature are Whirlie Bertie, 117; Copper State, 116; Seranading, 116; Best Lass, 114; and Sweet and Flawless, 111.

Grand Forks to work for vet

Grand Forks, the 12-year-old mare who was a late scratch Wednesday at Churchill, was scheduled to breeze while being watched by a state veterinarian Saturday morning at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, according to chief steward John Veitch.

Grand Forks has not raced since August 2000. Veitch informed owner-trainer Kathleen Costello about 12 minutes before the fifth race Wednesday that even though she had complied with all posted requirements to make the horse eligible to run, he was invoking his discretionary powers to request that Grand Forks have at least one workout before a state vet prior to being approved to race.

Wiggins to receive award at dinner

Hal Wiggins, the veteran trainer who will retire and disperse his public stable after the Churchill meet ends, was to be honored Saturday night in Louisville as the recipient of the 2009 Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners at their annual awards dinner.

Wiggins, 66, was the trainer of Rachel Alexandra before the filly was sold shortly after her record-setting 20 1/4-length victory in the May 1 Kentucky Oaks.

Wiggins and his wife, Renee, plan to retire to the Houston area.

* Freddie Lenclud, the leading apprentice at the fall meet with six wins through Friday, said he plans to ride at the Oaklawn Park meet that begins Jan. 15. Lenclud will be represented there by Doc Danner, the former longtime agent for Pat Day.