Evening Attire and Ground Storm, the one-two finishers in the Jan. 19 Aqueduct Handicap (gr. III), will face off again Saturday in the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.
Four-year-old Evening Attire has youth on his side, but Ground Storm has experience. The 6-year-old won the March 9 Stymie Handicap (gr. III) in his last start, while Evening Attire has not raced since their January meeting. The nine-furlong Stymie was run at the same distance as the Excelsior.
Patrick Kelly trains Evening Attire for Joseph and Mary Grant and Thomas Kelly. The trainer said just as he was preparing his charge for the Stymie, the horse, and some others in his barn, contracted a virus that required some time off. But now Evening Attire is healthy and ready to go.
Seth Benzel, who handles Ground Storm for trainer Bill Mott, says the same of his horse. "With his win streak, our horse is riding a wave of confidence," said Benzel. Ground Storm has been victorious in three of his last four races, and won his last two starts. He won a 10-furlong allowance in between the Aqueduct and the Stymie.
Evening Attire and Ground Storm are scheduled to face four other horses in Saturday's $200,000 event. The field, from the rail out, with jockey and weight:
1. Yankee Doodle, Jean-Luc Samyn, 111
2. Windsor Castle, Robbie Davis, 113
3. John little, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 111
4. Ground Storm, Javier Castellano, 118
5. Pleasant Divorce, C.C. Lopez, 113
6. Evening Attire, Shaun Bidgmohan, 119