03/03/2007 12:00AM

Evening Attire still kicking


The once-top-class 9-year-old gelding Evening Attire sprung a surprise flashback performance on Saturday at Aqueduct, rallying in deep stretch as if the year were 2002 or 2003 to win the $72,605 Stymie Handicap going away.

Off at 8-1 in the field of nine, Evening Attire plugged along in seventh up the backstretch of the 1 1/8-mile race, in his usual off-the-pace style.

Silver Prospector, 12-1, went to the front and under Chuck Lopez and set quick, pressured fractions of 23.42 for the quarter mile, 46.62 for the half, and 1:10.69 for six furlongs. Silver Prospector shook off pace-pressers Tasteyville and Tall Story in midstretch, but the closers were coming.

Evening Attire, ridden by Jose Espinoza, was still seventh turning for home, about eight lengths behind, but inched up to fifth by midstretch, then made a sharp move at the eighth pole, angling out between horses and outsprinting them all to the wire.

Malibu Moonshine, coupled with Colita as the Gary Contessa-trained entry, closed fast for second, beaten 2o1/4 lengths. Angliana rallied for third, another 1 1/4 lengths behind.

Carminooch, the tepid 5-2 favorite, raced wide near the rear, moved up to fourth turning for home, and flatted out, finishing seventh.

Trained by Pat Kelly and owned by a partnership, Evening Attire was timed in 1:49.75 and paid $19.60.

It was the first victory since November 2005 for Evening Attire, who once competed against some of the best horses in the land. From June 2002 to November 2003, Evening Attire ran in 11 Grade 1 and Grade 2 races. In that span he ran against such stars as Mineshaft, Funny Cide, and Medaglia d'Oro.

His two starts before Saturday, though, had been in optional claimers.

Saturday's victory was the 14th of Evening Attire's 54-race career, and the winner's purse of $43,563 raised his earnings to $2,633,227.