06/01/2008 11:00PM

Evening Attire goes to school


ELMONT, N.Y. - You may not be able to teach an old horse new tricks, but you can at least give one a refresher course. In an attempt to get the 10-year-old Evening Attire to break better, trainer Pat Kelly worked him a half-mile out of the gate over the weekend.

Evening Attire worked a solid four furlongs in 48.08 seconds from the gate on Saturday, just his second breeze from the gate since he was a 2-year-old. The true test of the lesson won't be known until Friday when Evening Attire runs in the Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont. The Brooklyn was changed in distance to 1 1/2 miles this year and could be deemed a stepping-stone to the new $500,000 Breeders' Cup Dirt Marathon at Santa Anita in October.

Kelly does not have designs on the Breeders' Cup, but he does like the longer distances for Evening Attire, who comes off a second-place finish in the Fit to Fight Stakes at 1 1/2 miles here on May 15. That day, Evening Attire broke slowly from the rail and could not catch a loose-on-the-lead Delosvientos.

Kelly was not thrilled when Evening Attire drew the rail again for the Brooklyn.

"It's a 'three Mississippi' break from the one,'' Kelly said. "His first stride, even when he breaks good, is a hop; it's not something new.''

Evening Attire is 1 for 18 at Belmont, the win coming in the 2002 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

A field of seven was entered for the Brooklyn, including Delosvientos, Angliana, Sightseeing, Imawildandcrazyguy, Nite Light, and Awfully Smart.

Trainer Shug McGaughey is trying something new with Sightseeing, stretching him out to 1 1/2 miles for the first time. McGaughey is hoping that, at the longer distance, his horse will lay a little closer than he has been. On Monday, Sightseeing worked four furlongs in 48.43 seconds.

Nite Light will likely go off the favorite as he has won 4 of his last 5 starts, including the Coyote Lakes at 1 5/8 miles and the Gallant Fox at 1 1/2 miles.

Belmont no, Hill Prince yes for Spark Candle

Spark Candle, who was briefly being considered for the Belmont Stakes, was entered and will run in Friday's Grade 3, $100,000 Hill Prince Stakes at a mile on turf, racing manager Nobutaka Tada said.

Spark Candle, a son of A.P. Indy out of the champion mare Serena's Song, has started six times and won once, on the turf last October in Japan. He pressed the pace and finished sixth on dirt here May 10 in the Grade 2 Peter Pan, a race won by his stablemate Casino Drive.

"We were thinking Belmont or allowance - we finally made the decision to run in Hill Prince,'' Tada said.

The Hill Prince came up a solid race with the likes of Prussian, Gio Ponti, and Hatta Fort in the field. Prussian won his first two starts on turf last year before finishing 10th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf over a yielding course. Because of the soft turf, trainer Bill Mott scratched Prussian from stakes on Derby Day and Preakness Day. He was beaten a nose by El Sultry Sun in the Lamplighter at Monmouth on May 25.

Gio Ponti won the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland last year and has not run since finishing eighth, beaten four lengths, in the BC Juvenile Turf, where he had a traffic-filled trip.

Hatta Fort, a Group 2 winner in Great Britain, was beaten a nose by Keep Laughing in the Lafayette on Keeneland's Polytrack in April. Also entered are Titan of Industry, Moral Compass, Writingonthewall, and Dynhocracy.

Big Truck skipping Hill Prince

One horse not entered in the Hill Prince was Big Truck, who finished 18th in the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Barclay Tagg and his assistant, Robin Smullen, believe the New York-bred Big Truck needs more time to recover from the Derby and likely won't race until Saratoga.

"Big Truck is going to need more time,'' Smullen said. "He got beat up in the Derby and he hasn't recovered. He's doing good, but he's not the same horse he was in the spring. We're not going to breeze him or train him hard for 30 days, then we'll start getting serious again at Saratoga.''

Smullen said she wasn't sure if Big Truck would be pointed to races on the turf or dirt at Saratoga. Big Truck had his last two works on the turf, including a five-furlong move in 1:01.18 on Sunday.

Swaps next for Behindatthebar

Behindatthebar, scratched out of the Preakness due to a bruised foot, worked four furlongs in 48.91 seconds Monday over Belmont Park's training track. Trainer Todd Pletcher said the Lexington Stakes winner would be pointed to the Grade 2, $350,000 Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 6.

"He's trained well there before, he likes synthetics,'' Pletcher said. "That's what we're thinking is best at this time."

Behindatthebar won the Lexington Stakes over Keeneland's synthetic surface in April but was held out of the Kentucky Derby because the race was too close back.

Pletcher also said Monday that A. P. Arrow, scratched out of the Pimlico Special due to colic, would train up to the Suburban Handicap here on June 28. Pletcher had twice worked A. P. Arrow on the turf with the idea of possibly running in Saturday's Grade 1 Manhattan, but he was not overly impressed with either of the two works.

Child's letter touches Dutrow

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has been getting plenty of fan mail for Big Brown, but one letter in particular really touched him. It was a hand-written note from a small child, with a drawing of Big Brown that included a Band-Aid over a front foot, obviously meant to represent the quarter crack Big Brown has in his left front foot.

The note, written in crayon, says, "Dear Big Brown. I heard you were feeling down. Get better soon and win the Triple Crown. Love, Lucy."

Dutrow brought it out of his tack room at Belmont Park on Monday morning and passed it around to media members.

Dutrow has held up well through the media crush heading toward the Triple Crown bid on Saturday in the Belmont Stakes. There was no one representing the New York Racing Association at his barn to coordinate media efforts on Monday morning, so Dutrow conducted an impromptu press conference on a stairwell leading to a dormitory.

"They wanted to know if I wanted a person to coordinate interviews, but that's just another person I don't need in my brain right now," Dutrow said. "I'll do as much as possible. People want to find out about Big Brown, and the more they find out about him, the more they will like him."

Several offbeat requests have been made regarding Big Brown. Michael Iavarone, the co-president of the IEAH Stable partnership that co-owns Big Brown, said that included a ticker-tape parade, and going to Disney World.

"I can't imagine that happening," Dutrow said, laughing. "I'll go. If there was any horse that you could walk down Madison Ave., it would be him. He's so cool."

Canet fined and suspended

Trainer Julian Canet began a 15-day suspension on Sunday after one of his horses came back positive for the banned substance

glycopyrrolate (Rubinol). The suspension was reduced from 30 days for Canet waiving his right of appeal. Canet was also fined $1,000.

Judith's Wild Rush, a former Canadian champion, had the drug in his system following a third-place finish at Aqueduct on March 14. He was ordered unplaced in the order of finish.

Mayne the opening act

Kenny Mayne, who is part of ESPN's racing coverage, is scheduled to be the opening act Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. with the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade in Manhattan.

Mayne, who has used Upright Citizens actors in some of his offbeat National Football League feature stories, will be reading from his book, "An Incomplete and Inaccurate History of Sport."

The theater is located at 307 W. 26th St. in Manhattan (212-366-9176).

o Matt Muzikar, the agent for jockey Eibar Coa, was fined $1,000 for being the instigator in an altercation with fellow agent Tony Micallef. He had a seven-day suspension waived provided he is not the instigator in another altercation during the remainder of the year.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman