12/11/2003 12:00AM

New ballgame in Queens County


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - What a difference a week makes.

The $100,000-added Queens County Handicap was scheduled for last Saturday, but was postponed by one week because of a snowstorm. The Grade 3 race was redrawn Thursday and has an entirely different look compared with a week ago.

Four of the original entries, Peekskill, Newfoundland, Last Intention, and Patriot's Song, were not

entered back in Saturday's race. Two new horses, most notably the 2001 Queens County winner, Evening Attire, and Seattle Fitz joined the field.

Evening Attire, who carries 123 pounds as the highweight, will be a short-priced and deserving favorite in the 1 3/16-mile Queens County. In addition to Seattle Fitz, Evening Attire will face Country Be Gold, Thunder Blitz, Unforgettable Max, and Nothing Flat.

Evening Attire seeks his first graded win of the year in the Queens County. In his last start, the gelding finished first in the $500,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 28, but was disqualified for interference and placed second. Pat Kelly, who trains Evening Attire for a partnership that includes his father, Tommy, and Joseph and Mary Grant, had no plans to run the horse in the Queens County when it was scheduled for last week, because it came only eight days after the Clark.

Kelly said, "There's really not much for him to run in until the Aqueduct Handicap next month. He usually bounces back quickly from his races."

Grade 1 winner Evening Attire towers over the Queens County field and is reunited with Shaun Bridgmohan, who has guided the gelding to his most important wins, including the 2002 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Evening Attire drew post 2.

Outside of Unforgettable Max, there isn't much speed in the race, and that could hurt the chances of Evening Attire, who is a closer.

Unforgettable Max, the only 3-year-old in the field, receives 10 pounds from Evening Attire. Unforgettable Max was beaten a nose by During in the Grade 3 Discovery on Oct. 29 at Aqueduct after going wide on both turns.

"That was a tough beat, but [During] is a nice horse," said Ben Perkins Jr., Unforgettable Max's trainer.

Javier Castellano rides Unforgettable Max, who will be dangerous if he steals away to an easy lead from post 6.

Thunder Blitz, the Stuyvesant runner-up, likely will press the pace set by Unforgettable Max.

Like Evening Attire, Seattle Fitz, who finished fourth in the Grade 2 Clark, became a candidate for the Queens County after the race was rescheduled.