06/03/2008 11:00PM

Nite Light bred right for Brooklyn Handicap


ELMONT, N.Y. - The regally bred Nite Light had a four-race winning streak snapped two months ago when he couldn't run down a loose-on-the-lead Temporary Saint in the Grade 3 Excelsior Handicap at Aqueduct.

On Friday, Nite Light will look to start another winning streak while continuing his road to the newly created Breeders' Cup Dirt Marathon when he heads a field of seven entered in the Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park. The Brooklyn tops a 10-race card that also includes the Grade 3, $100,000 Hill Prince for 3-year-olds on turf. Both races will be shown live on ESPN during a one-hour telecast that begins at 5 p.m. Eastern.

When the Breeders' Cup added the 1 1/2-mile Dirt Marathon to the schedule, the New York Racing Association decided to make the Brooklyn a stepping-stone to that race by stretching it out from nine furlongs to 12. The last time the Brooklyn was run at 1 1/2 miles was in 1978, when the 3-year-old Nasty and Bold won it under a then-21-year-old Jean-Luc Samyn.

Nite Light, a son of Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Thunder Gulch out of the Grade 1-winning mare Lite Light, should appreciate the added distance in the Brooklyn. During the winter, Nite Light won the Coyote Lakes Stakes at 1 1/2 miles and the Gallant Fox at 1 5/8 miles over Aqueduct's inner track. Though Nite Light won the John Campbell at Laurel at 1 1/8 miles, he finished 1 1/2 lengths behind Temporary Saint at that same distance in the Excelsior.

"I think he's back to his preferred distance this time,'' said Nite Light's trainer, Todd Pletcher, who has won two of the last three Brooklyns. "He's a horse that's productive at various distances, but his specialty is 1 1/2 miles plus.''

John Velazquez rides Nite Light, the 117-pound highweight, from post 6.

Velazquez will have to make sure Delosvientos doesn't get loose on the lead under Eibar Coa from post 2. Delosvientos, owned and trained by Giussepe Iadisernia, has won his last two starts, including the Fit to Fight Stakes at 1 1/2 miles when able to get loose on the lead.

Evening Attire, the popular 10-year-old gelding, finished second to Delosvientos in the Fit to Fight after another hesitant start. His trainer, Pat Kelly, worked him out of the gate last week in hopes of getting Evening Attire to break better. Kelly fears Delosvientos getting loose on the lead.

"If they let that horse gallop along, he'll win again,'' Kelly said. "He's going to be tough as the lone speed.''

Sightseeing, winner of the 2007 Peter Pan, comes out of a third-place finish in the one-mile Westchester Handicap in April. Trainer Shug McGaughey hopes by stretching him out, Sightseeing will be a little closer to the pace.

"Every other race he's had to play catch-up; maybe he won't have to be playing catch-up and he'll be laying a little closer,'' McGaughey said. "What I've been doing before ain't worked. If he can go a mile and a half it opens up some doors.''

Angliana, Imawildandcrazyguy, and Awfully Smart complete the field.