01/09/2004 1:00AM

Evening Attire faces weighty issue


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - To say that trainer Pat Kelly wasn't thrilled with the 123 pounds that carried when he was second in the Queens County Handicap last month would be an understatement.

"He had no chance going in with the weight; he was a dead duck going in," Kelly said Friday morning at his Belmont Park barn after Evening Attire worked five furlongs in 1:01.43.

Evening Attire, who spotted his five rivals eight to 11 pounds in the Queens County, was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Thunder Blitz, who carried 114.

Kelly said he would like to see the weight spread tighter when he runs Evening Attire in next Saturday's $100,000 Aqueduct Handicap, a race won by Evening Attire two years ago. The weights are due out Sunday.

Mike Lakow, NYRA's racing secretary and handicapper, said he thought Evening Attire's weight assignment in the Queens County "was the perfect weight."

Evening Attire crossed the finish line first in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 28, but was disqualified for interference and placed second. He ran back a week later in the Queens County.

"Technically, he really didn't win a stakes last year because they took him down in the Clark," Kelly said. "It's possible [the racing office] didn't know he would run back that quick in the Queens County when he was weighted."

Besides Evening Attire, others being pointed to the Grade 3 Aqueduct are Thunder Blitz, Abreeze, Boston Park, Big Country, Seattle Fitz, Classic Endeavor, and Lord ofthe Thunder. Salute Him is listed a possible starter.

Stablemates Big Country and Boston Park worked in company on Friday at Belmont. Big Country covered five furlongs in a bullet 1:01.09 and Boston Park was timed in 1:02.70. Salute Him worked five furlongs in 1:02.51.

Peeping Tom's race stumps trainer

Trainer Pat Reynolds was at a loss to explain Peeping Tom's defeat as the favorite in Wednesday's allowance feature. Peeping Tom, a 7-year-old gelding, ran a flat race and finished third, beaten 4 1/2 lengths by the winner, Spooky Mulder.

"He hung and I thought he was pretty well spotted, so I was a little disappointed," Reynolds said. "Maybe age is catching up him, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. He acted like a fresh horse after the race."

Reynolds said he probably would stick to the plans he made before Wednesday's race and point Peeping Tom to the Grade 2 General George at Laurel Park on Feb. 16. Peeping Tom won the General George in 2001 and was second last year.

Reynolds said that Shawklit Mint, a contender for a 2003 New York-bred championship in the filly and mare division, is getting a freshening.

Shawklit Mint, who won the Grade 2 Vagrancy last June at Belmont, finished sixth in her last start in the Garland of Roses Handicap here Dec. 13.

"She's had a hard campaign and we have no immediate plans with her," Reynolds said.

No stakes on Sunday

Sunday is the first of six Sundays at the inner-track meet that doesn't have a stakes. The feature is a third-level allowance race for older horses at six furlongs.

The five horses in that race have had limited success over the inner track. Collectively, the horses have made 27 starts over the inner track with only two wins. Tarek, who is stabled at Aqueduct, has the best inner-track record: 1 for 12 in six starts. Turn Back the Time is the only other horse with a win on the inner track, and it came a year ago. He has lost 10 starts since.

Crafty Song and Team Player are each making their second start after a long layoff and are eligible to improve.

Crafty Song finished third at this level on Dec. 31 in his first start since June 23. Team Player ran in the same race and was fifth in his first start since May 15.

C.L. Rib, who has raced six times on the inner and finished third in five of those races, could be compromised by a lack of pace in Sunday's feature.

Two security posts filled

Kenneth Cook, the new director of security at the New York Racing Association, has appointed Richard Eggleston and Bruce McAleavey to security posts.

Eggleston has been named the chief of investigations and McAleavey the chief of patrol.

Both Eggleston and McAleavey previously worked for the New York State Police.

Their appointments come on the heels of several managerial changes that were made in recent months at NYRA as a result of the federal investigation into NYRA's business practices. Cook, who also worked for the New York State Police, replaced NYRA's former director of security, John Tierney, in December. Tierney was reassigned to NYRA's facilities department.

* Former jockey Filiberto Leon and his wife, Roberta, had their second child Monday when Luka Leon was born in Saratoga Springs. Luka weighed in at 8 pounds, 2 ounces. Luka Leon is the couple's first son. Leon runs a Mexican restaurant in Saratoga.

* Jeff Farrell, an assistant starter, was struck in the forehead by a horse's hooves before the start of the fourth race on Friday. Farrell was sent to the hospital for stitches.

- additional reporting by David Grening