All Dressed Up

At approximately 6:25 this evening, I was jumping up and down in my living room, pumping my fist, and saying, “Come on! Come on! Get up! Get up!” My cats looked at me as if I were crazy, and apparently the Thoroughbred Action replay of the Queens County Handicap heard me, as Evening Attire did indeed get up, by a head, over Barcola to win this Grade III race today. The photo is taken by Adam Coglianese, and taken from The Blood-Horse. Pretty cool, isn’t it, that there are actually TWO horses in this photo?

I didn’t leave Anna House today until 4:15, so I didn’t get to Aqueduct to see the race, and I did everything I could to avoid learning the result until I could catch the replay tonight. At the commercial break of Thoroughbred Action after the seventh race, the camera showed Evening Attire contentedly hanging in the gate, then placidly coming out…and the camera stayed in a close-up on him as the shot faded to a commercial. “Hmm….” I thought. “Foreshadowing? Or just showing the grey guy with his patented late start?”

As I watched the replay and as Barcola set reasonable fractions, I thought, “Mmmm, not good. Pace is too sensible to set him up. And he’s closer to the pace than usual.” When he was just a couple of lengths back of Barcola and Marital Asset at the top of the stretch, I started to smile; he looked game and he looked strong. As he chased Barcola down the stretch, as his strides stayed long, I stood up, and I started. “Come on, big guy! Come on!” As they neared the wire, and as he really didn’t look like he was working too hard, I was gleeful, and when Evening Attire determinedly stuck his head in front, my arms were in the air (like they were when the Rangers used to score goals), and I was exultant—“Woo-hoo!”–as I fist-pumped in my living room. “Yes!”

This is Evening Attire’s first win since the Stymie in March, but he’s gotten a check in all of his starts this year, and he’s earned about $200,000 for his connections. Pat Kelly, his trainer, assures his legions of fans that “…unless something goes amiss, Evening Attire will race as a 10-year-old…If there’s racing, we’ll be here. I don’t know what else to do with him” (DRF). Kelly tried to retire Evening Attire a year ago, but the horse would have none of it and he returned to training early in 2007. Here’s a shot of the grey guy (who did look greyer today than he did in this photo) as he walked to the track at Saratoga this summer.

As Jan Rushton put it, “This gallant gelding just has to put a smile on everybody’s face”; it’s moments like these that make me glad to be a race fan.

Maybe now he’ll get his blanket back?

6 thoughts on “All Dressed Up

  1. What a great race! He ran around like a nut in the parade, every shot of every horse had Evening Attire streaking by in the background.

  2. I didn’t get to see the live broadcast, and like a dope didn’t think to TiVo it. I did like his lazy lope back to the winner’s circle after the race.

  3. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for the classy old guy! We watched this one on CalRacing today, and I too did the Woo-hoo dance!

  4. Steve Crist wrote in his blog today about Evening Attire: “One race later, with the exception of those who needed Barcola to hang on in the Queens County, was there a racing fan with a heartbeat who wasn’t rooting for Evening Attire to get up?”Read the rest of it–it’s a great piece, and testimony to the wide appeal of the grey guy.

  5. I adore this guy and what a thrill to see him powering down the stretch to nab that other horse at the wire.. the Kelleys and Prado have finesse but this Evening Attire is the finessest Whooo hooo for this lovely fellow.He is one of my favorite horses…and he just gave me a thrill I am still gaga over his win

  6. I agree, iron horse–Evening Attire is exactly the sort of equine hero the sport needs–thank goodness for connections like his. Read the piece on about Tim Kelly if you get a chance…

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