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Evening Attire seeks an automatic bid to the new Breeders' Cup Marathon in the $250,000 Greenwood Cup.
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Evening Attire Back For More

The 10-year-old gelding looks to clinch a spot in the Breeders' Cup Marathon

Five years after his last appearance in the Breeders’ Cup, wouldn’t it be something if ageless iron horse Evening Attire could make a return trip to Santa Anita? That’s exactly what the 10-year-old gelding has a chance to do July 19, as he goes to post in the $250,000 Greenwood Cup – the first ever Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” event at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack.

The winner of the 1 1/2-mile dirt event will receive an automatic bid to the new Breeders’ Cup Marathon Oct. 25 at Santa Anita. A two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) runner, Evening Attire last competed in America’s richest day of Thoroughbred racing in 2003, the year Pleasantly Perfecttook home top honors in California.

While Pleasantly Perfect and many other starters from that 2003 Breeders’ Cup are currently enjoying life as stallions, Evening Attire continues to grind it out for trainer Pat Kelly. The son of 1991 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Black Tie Affair has started 68 times in his remarkable career, producing a 14-16-9 record. A nine-time graded stakes winner, including the 2002 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), he has earned more than $2.8 million for Thomas Kelly and Joseph Grant.

“To be honest with you, the last thing we’re thinking about now is the Breeders’ Cup,” Pat Kelly said. “At this stage of the game we’re just taking it one day at a time. I just thank the Lord that he is healthy and his attitude is still good. I’ve been around a lot of horses, but he’s special. He’s really neat.”

Although Evening Attire has won just once during the last 17 months – that coming in last year’s Queen’s County Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct – he is still very competitive. During that span, which has included 15 starts, the old warrior has finished in the money seven times. Most recently, Evening Attire was second, just two lengths back, in the mile and a half Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) June 6 at Belmont while earning an impressive Beyer Speed Figure of 105.

Bred in Kentucky, Evening Attire is out of the Our Native mare Concolour. This will be his first start at Philadelphia Park. Jose Espinoza will get the mount.

“He’s still training well,” Kelly continued. “I think he went forty-eight (seconds for a half-mile) the other day, so he’s doing fine. I have no idea how he’ll like the track in Philly. It’s supposed to be a hot and humid, and we’ll be shipping race day, so that won’t help him. He usually doesn’t like that kind of heat. But who knows? It’s a big purse, and we’ll take a shot.”

Evening Attire’s main competition should be J. Paul Reddam’s Barcola, who was beaten a head by Evening Attire in the Queen’s County last December. The likely favorite and carrying top weight of 122 pounds, Barcola was shipped to Dubai for his seasonal debut in March, but disappointed while finishing 12th in the Godolphin Mile (UAE-II). When he returned to the states, the son of Old Trieste rebounded nicely for trainer Mark Hennig, taking the Brandywine Stakes May 10 at Delaware Park.

A four-time stakes winner, Barcola was third to Curlin in his last effort, the grade I Stephen Foster Handicap June 14 at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old, who will get the services of Kendrick Carmouche, has never contested a mile and a half. He will likely be on the front end.

Another entrant to consider is Three in the Bag, who despite being a 6-year-old will be making his first stakes start in the United States. A consistent in-the-money finisher in allowance company, the Silver Deputy gelding is in top form these days, having reeled off consecutive runaway victories. Owned by Michael Dubb and trained by Tony Dutrow, Three in the Bag romped by 15 lengths in the slop at Delaware in May and most recently, took an optional claiming event by 9 1/4 lengths June 14 at Philadelphia Park. Like Barcola, he will test 12 furlongs for the first time in his career.

$250,000 Greenwood Cup (Race 8, 3:22 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Barcola (KY), 122, Kendrick Carmouche
2. Bureaucratic (KY), 114, Shaun Bridgmohan
3. Three in the Bag (ON), 117, Mario G. Pino
4. Solemn Promise (FL), 114, (No Rider)
5. Phil the Power (KY), 114, Anthony S. Black
6. Evening Attire (KY), 114, Jose L. Espinoza