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Saturday, September 28
Evening Attire surprises in Gold Cup

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Evening Attire, who first burst on the scene with a 65-1 upset of Street Cry in last year's Discovery Handicap, pulled off another stunner Saturday, rallying from next to last to win the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup by 2 3/4 lengths at Belmont Park.

Evening Attire
The Jockey Club Gold Cup was Evening Attire's first Grade 1 win.
Lido Palace finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Harlan's Holiday, who nosed out Nothing Flat for third. Abreeze, Milwaukee Brew, 8-5 favorite Repent, and Puzzlement completed the order of finish.

After winning just one of his first eight starts, Evening Attire has now won six of his last nine and pushed his career earnings to $1,208,810. Evening Attire, a 4-year-old gelding, will now try to duplicate the 1991 Breeders' Cup Classic victory of his father, Black Tie Affair, in next month's $4 million Classic at Arlington Park.

"Assuming he comes out of this fine, we've got a month to the Breeders' Cup," trainer Pat Kelly said. "He does well off a month. It'll be a 1 1/4 miles around two turns. The good thing about Arlington is it's similar to Belmont, a big, wide-turned track."

Evening Attire had never won at Belmont before, though he had finished second three times in five starts there. Saturday, he broke a step slowly under Shaun Bridgmohan, and raced well off a moderate pace. Harlan's Holiday was on the lead for an opening quarter of 24.69 seconds, but was soon joined by Abreeze and Repent, who surprisingly contested the pace under Edgar Prado.

At the half-mile pole, as Repent backed up and Lido Palace made his way toward the front-running tandem of Abreeze and Harlan's Holiday, Evening Attire still had only one horse beat.

Approaching the quarter pole, Evening Attire split a tiring Repent and Puzzlement to gain contention, moved to the three path in upper stretch, and swept past Abreeze near the sixteenth pole.

Evening Attire covered the 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.58 over a track labeled good and returned $21 as the fifth choice.

"He didn't break alertly, I had to let him settle for the first part," Bridgmohan said. "When I found some room at the top of the stretch and kicked on him, he just really accelerated."

Lido Palace ran creditably to be second, but no decision was made about the possibility of supplementing him to the Classic for $800,000.

Trainer Todd Pletcher scratched Harlan's Holiday out of Friday night's Pegasus due to a sloppy track, and was pleased with the effort put in by his horse, even if he wasn't thrilled with the trip he got.

"Someone else was also dictating where we had to be," Pletcher said. "I felt in spite of that, he ran a big race. It's the kind of race we'll move forward off of."

Trainer Ken McPeek said Prado told him Repent "had no punch, nothing. He just flattened out in the middle of the turn."

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