09/28/2008 11:00PM

Evening Attire retired at age 10

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Evening Attire, the gutsy, grey 10-year-old gelding who won 15 races and $2.9 million in a career that spanned nine racing seasons, has been retired due to a minor ankle injury, his connections announced Sunday.

Evening Attire was forced to scratch out of the Point Given Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sept. 20 due to filling in a leg.

"During the week, after discussions with the vet and his owners, we decided, considering his age and all he has done, it was in everyone’s best interest to retire Evening Attire and find a good home for him," said trainer Pat Kelly.’’

No decision has been made on where Evening Attire will reside in retirement.

Evening Attire, a son of Black Tie Affair, was owned by Kelly’s father, the retired Hall of Fame trainer, Tom `"T.J." Kelly, and Joseph and Mary Grant. Evening Attire began his career in 2000 with Tim Kelly, a brother of Pat. When Tim retired from training - he is now clerk of scales for the New York Racing Association - the horse went to Pat.

Evening Attire compiled a record of 15 wins, 16 seconds, and 9 thirds from 69 starts and he earned $2,977,130. He won nine graded stakes, including the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2002.

He was having a renaissance season of sorts, winning the $250,000 Greenwood Cup at Philadelphia Park by 8 1/4 lengths on July 19 and seemed to have found his niche at 1 1/2 miles. By virtue of his Greenwood Cup victory, Evening Attired had earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Marathon.

"We feel so blessed to have a horse not only racing for eight years, but competing in stakes company," Mary Grant said in a release. "Evening Attire has brought our family so much excitement and has given us the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people in the racing world. We are amazed at his popularity. For years he has received birthday cards from fans in this country as well as from New Zealand and Europe. One fan has even built a website dedicated to him, . We just want to thank all his loyal fans for their great support."

Said Joe Grant: "We do this with a tear in our eye, but all good things come to an end and we want to do what is best for him."