When last weekend's snowstorm forced the cancellation of racing at Aqueduct, the grade III, $100,000 Queens County Handicap was rescheduled for Saturday and opened back up to initial nominees. The Queens County will be the feature of the day, along with the stakes race originally scheduled for Saturday, the $75,000 Garland of Roses.
Mrs. Joseph Grant's Evening Attire, who was not entered last weekend because the race was just eight days after he competed in the Clark Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, has been entered this time around and will be the favorite.
Sent off the 2-1 favorite in the $500,000 Clark over a sloppy track, Evening Attire sat in mid-pack before accelerating on the turn and gaining the lead at the top of the stretch. Through the final quarter-mile, the 5-year-old gelding drifted out slightly and Churchill Downs stewards ruled he interfered with Quest and disqualified him after winning by a nose.
"I don't see what the big deal was," said trainer Pat Kelly. "I've seen a lot worse where they haven't even looked at it. That wasn't fun."
Now Kelly and Evening Attire, who won this race in 2001, must put the Clark behind them and focus on Saturday's task of carrying top weight of 123 pounds in the Queens County.
"That's a lot of lumber to carry, but there's not much we can do about that," Kelly said. "There's really not much for him to run in until the Aqueduct Handicap next month. He usually bounces back quickly from his races."
Shaun Bridgmohan will be reunited with Evening Attire in the Queens County.
The field for Saturday's grade III, $100,000 Queens County Handicap
1--Seattle Fitz/Richard Migliore/114
2--Evening Attire/Shaun Bridgmohan/123
3--Nothing Flat/Norberto Arroyo Jr./112
4--Thunder Blitz/Jorge Chavez/114
5--Country Be Gold/Jose Santos/115
6--Unforgettable Max/Javier Castellano/113