Mary and Joseph Grant and T.J. Kelly's Evening Attire and 2002 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Sarava are among a field of seven older horses set to go 1 1/8-miles in the $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland on Thursday.
Evening Attire was narrowly beaten by Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Funny Cide in the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct in his last start. The $2 million-earner is trained by Patrick Kelly and Cornelio Velasquez will ride.
Last year's Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Sir Cherokee returned to the races in 2004 with a victory in the Maxim Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park. The Michael Tomlinson trainee subsequently found Peace Rules and Saint Liam too tough in the New Orleans (gr. II) and Oaklawn (gr. II) Park Handicaps. The son of Cherokee Run
likes the Keeneland surface and could rebound to his best form here. Jockey Calvin Borel will don the distinctive blue, gold and black silks of Domino Stud of Lexington.
New Phoenix Stable and Susan Roy's Sarava won the 2002 Belmont Stakes. With only three starts since that effort, he has yet to return to his 3-year-old form. The son of Wild Again
has been working well for the Ben Ali.
Although he hasn't won a major race, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider's Congrats was very impressive taking an allowance race at Keeneland on April 3. The son of A.P. Indy
is trained by Shug McGaughey.
Also entered is Midway Road, who finished second in last year's Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
The Ben Ali field from the rail out:
1. Congrats (J. Velazquez)
2. Evening Attire (C. Velasquez)
3. American Style (Shane Sellers)
4. Jersey Giant (Jerry Bailey)
5. Sarava (Day),
6. Sir Cherokee (Borel)
7. Midway Road (Robby Albarado).