08/18/2008 11:00PM

Evenings End has an excuse for last race

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - When Evenings End was bone dry on one of the hottest days of the summer at Monmouth Park, trainer Tim Kelly knew the 3-year-old colt was in trouble.

In his poorest effort of the season, Evenings End prompted the pace for a half-mile in a $51,000 second-level allowance race for New Jersey-breds on the Haskell Day undercard before fading to fifth.

Evenings End looks to bounce back Thursday in a similar spot here, and Kelly expects the colt to revert to the form that earned a win, a second, and a third in the first three races of his campaign.

"The last time was a little disappointing," Kelly said. "He didn't sweat that day and he misfired. He overheated. I think we've got that fixed, so he should sweat this time and be able to run a little bit better."

Evenings End moves to the rail with new pilot Carlos Cruz aboard for the six-furlong race.

"I don't know if it's going to help necessarily," Kelly said. "If he breaks right on top, which he should, it should be a little bit of a benefit."

Evenings End should also benefit from another race at Monmouth, where he is 2-2-1 in 7 races. The only other time he failed to hit the board here was in the Grade 3 Sapling last September.

He ran only once more at 2, running fifth in a grass race at the Meadowlands, before heading to the sidelines with a non-displaced fracture in the left front leg.

"We had to give him the winter off," Kelly said. "More than likely, it happened in the Sapling. We wound up sending him to the New Bolton Center because he just wasn't the same horse. They finally got to the bottom of it."

Zip's Affair, De Fearless One, and Private William also return from the same Haskell Day race.

Zip's Affair has a win, a second, and a third in three starts, all locally, since being claimed by trainer Steve Asmussen for $15,000 at Aqueduct in March. He was second to Unwritten last time out, earning an 81 Beyer Speed Figure that is at least seven points better than any rival's most recent effort.

Stewart Elliott, who has been aboard all three times since the claim, has the return call.

De Fearless One had some traffic trouble last time as he finished fourth. Eddie Castro picks up the mount for trainer Mary Hartmann.