01/15/2010 1:00AM

Entrymates may tangle up front


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Owner Paul Pompa Jr. appears to be sitting pretty for Saturday's $65,000 Evening Attire Stakes at Aqueduct, in which he sends out the coupled entry of Understatement and Well Positioned. As long as the two horses don't get in each other's way, that is.

Understatement and Well Positioned appear to do their best running when they are into the race early. Understatement is drawn on the rail and is getting blinkers again, the first time since May. Well Positioned is making his stakes debut after a dominant first-level allowance score here on Dec. 6.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said that Well Positioned is "not a need-the-lead horse."

"If [Pompa's] got another horse with speed in there, we're fine with that," he said. "Our horse is doing good, he's ready to run. If he runs back to his last race he should be a very live horse in this spot."

In his Dec. 6 race, Well Positioned stalked the speed of Have You Ever, took over turning for home, and drew clear to win by seven, running 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.32 and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 105. Ramon Dominguez rides Well Positioned.

Last winter, Dominguez guided Understatement to a pair of allowance victories over the inner track. His connections had high hopes he could be a factor in the Grade 1 Carter, but he finished seventh of eight. That began a five-race losing streak. Understatement returned from a four-month layoff with a decent second-place finish to 10-time stakes winner Ah Day in a Dec. 18 race at Laurel. Ah Day is back in this spot.

"It was a good effort off a long layoff," said Jonathan Thomas, assistant for Understatement's trainer, Todd Pletcher. "He's trained well since that start. We're looking for a slightly better effort."

Understatement's two inner-track victories came when blinkers were added, equipment he is getting again come Saturday.

The Pletcher stable will also send out Storm Play, who has yet to revert back to his first three efforts, which he won impressively when in the barn of Jimmy Jerkens. In two starts for Pletcher, Storm Play finished fourth to the champion Midshipman in an allowance race and then finished fourth in the Grade 3 Queens County.

"His recent series of works have been encouraging," Thomas said. "We'd anticipate some sort of improved performance. If there's a lot of speed in the race - which I think there will be - he should be able to sit a nice trip."