09/22/2008 12:00AM

Evening Attire seeks two in a row on road


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Even though Evening Attire has already punched his ticket to the first running of Breeders' Cup Marathon, trainer Pat Kelly is still not sold on taking the gray 10-year-old star of his barn all the way to California.

"I don't think any of us are fired up about it, because it's so far away," Kelly said. "We've got plenty of time to think about it."

The Breeders' Cup will come more clearly into focus Sunday when Evening Attire makes his first career appearance at Monmouth Park in the $100,000 Point Given Stakes at 1 1/2 miles.

The career winner of $2.9 million will be the one to beat at this rarely run distance at Monmouth.

Evening Attire secured a berth in the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon, a 1 1/2-mile race at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, with a victory last time out in the Greenwood Cup at Philadelphia Park on July 19. The Greenwood was a Breeders' Cup Challenge Win and You're In stakes, with the winner automatically securing a berth in the Marathon.

The Greenwood win also was notable as Evening Attire's first victory outside New York in 11 tries. Should the gelding post a second straight road win Sunday, the lure of the Breeders' Cup might prove irresistible.

Evening Attire's last Breeders' Cup appearance was in 2003 at Santa Anita, a seventh-place finish in the Classic. A return to the Breeders' Cup five years later would be a remarkable feat.

Evening Attire, chronically slow from the gate throughout his 69-race career, has settled into a nice groove in 1 1/2-mile races, with a win and 2 seconds in his last 3 outings.

"He's doing fine," Kelly said. "He's ready to go. He needs to run. At this point, the mile and a half is helping us."

Switching to 1 1/2 miles on dirt also helped Phil the Power. Trainer Joe Orseno had a hunch that the 4-year-old, having spent most of his career on the turf, would love a three-turn race on the main track.

In two tries at the distance, Phil the Power was a distant second in the Greenwood, finishing 8 1/4 lengths behind Evening Attire, before scoring a pacesetting win in the Kelso Stakes at Delaware Park.

"This should be an interesting race," Orseno said. "Monmouth is a little different racetrack than Philly Park. I am going to take my best shot again at beating Evening Attire."

Completing the field are Angliana, Critical Acclaim, Delosvientos, and Sam P.

- additional reporting by David Grening