01/17/2013 3:00PM

Aqueduct: Last Gunfighter streaks into Evening Attire Stakes

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Last Gunfighter has won three straight races, including the Raymond Earl on Dec. 9.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The rapidly improving Last Gunfighter takes another step up the class ladder Saturday when he heads a seven-horse field entered for the $75,000 Evening Attire Stakes at Aqueduct.

Last Gunfighter, a son of First Samurai, has won all three of his starts since being transferred to trainer Chad Brown, including a 4 3/4-length victory in the Raymond Earl, an overnight stakes run around one turn over Aqueduct’s main track in December.

“This horse came into me in good shape, and he’s never had a bad day,” Brown said from south Florida. “His numbers are going in the right direction, and if he continues to come forward, he might take the next step and start running in graded stakes.”

Last Gunfighter has won all three of his races for Brown from off the pace, taking advantage of a hot pace to win a first-level allowance race here Nov. 21 and overcoming a slow pace to win the Raymond Earl on Dec. 9.

On paper, there appears to be ample speed in the Evening Attire, run at 1 1/16 miles, but it remains to be seen how it plays out on the track. Arlo, a horse based at Parx Racing with Cynthia Reese, and the Bob-Baffert-trained New York-bred Brigand are both speed horses. However, Brigand is cross-entered in Sunday’s $75,000 Turnofthecentury Stakes restricted to New York-breds.

“He seems to run a little better with pace in front of him,” Brown said of Last Gunfighter. “He trains like a horse that’ll go two turns.”

Last Gunfighter will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez before he changes into his evening attire and catches a flight to south Florida, where he is expected to be honored with his third straight Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey.

If Brigand scratches, Arlo could play out as the primary speed. He is coming off back-to-back, front-running scores at Parx, including a three-quarter-length win in the Auld Lang Syne Stakes on Dec 31.

“He does like the front end, but he is ratable,” Reese said. “You just can’t fight him a lot. He’s such a finesse horse. He loves to run, he’s a very good feeling kind of horse.”

Norman Asbjornson has earned more than $340,000, but has never won a stakes. He has two seconds and a third in three stakes over Aqueduct’s inner track. He was scratched out of the Auld Lang Syne Stakes after developing colic the day before the race, according to trainer Chris Grove. He was cross-entered in Monday’s Native Dancer Stakes at Laurel.

Scotus, Burned Bridges, and Isn’t He Perfect complete the field.