06/05/2007 11:00PM

Turf star Einstein might try Stephen Foster on dirt


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Einstein, the highly accomplished turf specialist who gained some notoriety when he dumped jockey Robby Albarado on Preakness Day at Pimlico, might make a surface switch for his next race.

Trainer Helen Pitts said Einstein could make his next start in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap, a 1o1/8-mile dirt race that anchors a six-stakes program June 16 at Churchill Downs.

With Albarado aboard, Einstein breezed five furlongs in 59.40 seconds on Sunday.

"Robby came back and said, 'Why don't we run this guy on the dirt?' " said Pitts. "And I said, 'Funny, but we just might.' I would like to try him on the dirt because he goes so good over it."

Einstein, a Brazilian-bred 5-year-old owned by the Midnight Cry Stable, won the Grade 1 Gulfstream Breeders' Cup and the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Handicap and already has earned nearly $520,000. He and Albarado both escaped injury in his last start, the Dixie Handicap at Pimlico on Mayo19, when the horse threw the jockey to the turf while evading a fallen rival.

Pitts said Einstein would work once more, either Saturday or Sunday, before a final determination is made whether to run in the Foster.

Einstein is one of at least six older horses under serious consideration for the $750,000 Foster. The others are Master Command, Magna Graduate, Wanderin Boy, Wiggins, and Diamond Stripes.

"We've got quite a few calls in, so I imagine we'll be getting a few more horses," Churchill racing secretary Ben Huffman said Wednesday.

Among the other major races on the Foster program is the Grade 2, $300,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap, a filly-mare race that is shaping up as a showdown between Ermine and Indian Vale.

All-sources wagering down 6 percent

While ontrack business remains virtually the same as last year, all-sources wagering is down 6 percent as Churchill swings into the second half of its 52-day spring meet.

Heading into Wednesday, and with 27 days of the meet complete, all-sources handle has averaged $14.6omillion per day, down from the $15.6 million during corresponding dates at the 2006 spring meet. The ontrack handle is averaging $2,236,011, up less than 1 percent over last year.

Despite the decrease in business, purses have not been cut because the track's percentage of handle has increased substantially by switching its primary account-wagering service to TrackNet, which derives its revenues from the company-owned Twin Spires wagering service. A sizable percentage of the overall deficit is traceable to the fact that Churchill is no longer available on TVG or Youbet accounts.

Julie Koenig-Loignon, Churchill's vice president of communications, said that several other factors were likely to have contributed to the decrease in all-sources wagering, including Arlington Park taking some market share from Churchill at simulcast outlets. Arlington field size has increased substantially with the installation of its Polytrack surface and the move to a four-day race week.

Abreu draws $1,000 fine

Trainer Reynaldo Abreu has been fined $1,000 by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority because a horse he trained at the time, Warrior Girl, had an overage of carbon dioxide in a prerace blood test in April. The overage is the first in the state since random tests for carbon dioxide began, stemming from the outlawed practice of "milkshaking."

Chief steward John Veitch said Wednesday that mitigating circumstances were involved in the case of Warrior Girl, the third-place finisher behind Asi Siempre in the April 18 Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland. Veitch said Warrior Girl was treated with electrolytes that "could have raised the levels of dextrose and bicarbonate of soda" in the filly's system.

"She had a history of tying up [cramping], and the electrolyte apparently was used too close to the race," said Veitch. "It was within our power to suspend Mr. Abreu, but all of the evidence told us that the $1,000 fine was reasonable. Her test was barely over the allowable limit" for carbon dioxide.

Warrior Girl is owned by the Marylou Whitney Stables, which no longer has any of its horses with Abreu. The horse was disqualified from purse earnings.

* The best race on the Friday twilight program is a $50,000 allowance that drew 12 3-year-olds and up. Carded as the 10th of 11 races, the one-mile race could have Chekhov, trained by Patrick Biancone, as a lukewarm favorite. First post is 2:45 p.m. Eastern.