Evening Attire, the 10-year-old gelding who qualified for a starting berth to the inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup Marathon by winning the Greenwood Cup by 8 1/4 lengths at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack in July, will be entered as a main-track-only participant for the $80,000 John’s Call Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 17.
The John’s Call is scheduled to be run at 1 5/8 miles on the turf, but with the wet weather continuing in Saratoga and grass races continuously being switched to the main track, there is the possibility Evening Attire will get his surface. Entries for the John’s Call will be taken Aug. 15.
Evening Attire’s trainer, Pat Kelly, would love for the John’s Call to be run at 1 5/8 miles on the dirt, but if the race is switched to the main track, the distance becomes 1 3/16 miles. The Greenwood Cup was run at 1 1/2 miles, and Evening Attire, who is slow to get going in the early part of the race, is finding marathon distances more and more to his liking.
“A mile and three-sixteenths isn’t close to how far he wants,” Kelly said Aug. 14. “Who knows with the (wet) forecast if they will even be able to get enough horses to enter for the turf?”
Kelly, who trains Evening Attire for his father, T.J. Kelly, and Joseph and Mary Grant, said it would be just his luck if the day of the John’s Call was “the most beautiful day of the meet.” If Evening Attire doesn’t get the opportunity to run at Saratoga, Kelly is hopeful there will be an overnight stakes for the gelding early in the Belmont Park fall meet.
As for starting in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Santa Anita Park Oct. 25, Kelly said he hasn’t given that much thought. As far as Kelly is concerned, running on a synthetic surface--something Evening Attire has not done before—is not that alluring.
“I’m not thinking about the Breeders’ Cup right now,” Kelly said. “He can be quirky running on different surfaces.”
Evening Attire, a son of Black Tie Affair, is a winner of 15 races in 69 starts. He has been victorious in 11 stakes, including the 2002 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park, and has earnings of $2,977,170.