11/21/2005 12:00AM

Scrappy T in Cigar Mile vs. elders


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Robbie Bailes confirmed Monday that Scrappy T will run Saturday in the Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.

The Cigar Mile is the centerpiece of the Big A's stakes-heavy HolidayFest weekend.

It begins Thursday with the $100,000 Fall Highweight Handicap and continues Friday with the Grade 2, $150,000 Top Flight Handicap for fillies and mares.

In addition to the Cigar Mile on Saturday, the Big A offers a pair of Grade 2, $200,000 juvenile stakes: the Remsen and the Demoiselle for fillies.

The weekend stakes schedule concludes Sunday with the $75,000 Montauk Handicap for New York-breds.

Scrappy T returns to scene and the distance of his lone graded-stakes victory, the Grade 3 Withers on April 30.

After the Withers, Bailes set his sights on the Preakness, where Scrappy T ducked out in the lane and into the path of the onrushing Afleet Alex, the eventual winner.

Scrappy T came out of his second-place finish in the Preakness with a "pulled muscle in the back," Bailes said, and was rested over the summer.

He returned in October and ran second in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park and in the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap on the Breeders' Cup card at Belmont Park.

In the Discovery, Scrappy T set the pace and lost by three-quarters of a length to Magna Graduate.

"He came out of the race real well," Bailes said. "I couldn't ask him to being doing any better. Right now, I think he's as good as he's ever been."

Scrappy T will be making his first appearance against older horses on Saturday.

"I think he's ready for the challenge," Bailes said. "It's hard to find a 3-year-old race unless you head to California. We're aiming for this one Saturday, and we'll see how he goes after that."

Where will Society Selection run?

The HolidayFest destination of Society Selection remained unclear Monday morning. A 4-year-old filly owned by Irving Cowan, Society Selection is nominated to the Top Flight and the Cigar Mile.

"We really don't know yet," said Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens. "Mr. Cowan hasn't told me yet. We probably won't know until Wednesday. We're all set to go, whatever he wants to do."

Society Selection finished a distant second in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. She has run five consecutive times in Grade 1 stakes. Her lone win this year came in the Grade 2 Shuvee Handicap at Belmont Park in May.

In theory, the Top Flight should be an easier spot. With respect to taking on males in the Cigar Mile, Jerkens said that Society Selection is a "good miler and she comes from behind."

"If they mix it up a lot on the front," he said, "she could come strong at the finish."

Evening Attire Queens County-bound?

Pat Kelly never lost faith in Evening Attire, even though the trainer concedes the classy 7-year-old is "a little slower, but not a lot slower" than he used to be.

The gray gelding came through with his first victory of the season in the Grade 3, $108,600 Stuyvesant Handicap Saturday at Aqueduct. The winner of the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2002, Evening Attire had not won since last year's Grade 2 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap, a stretch that covered nine losses.

Kelly said the horse came out of the Stuyvesant fine and could run next in the Big A's Grade 3 Queens County Handicap on Dec. 10. It would be his fourth appearance in the 1 3/16-mile race. Evening Attire won the Queens County in 2001 and was second in the last two renewals.

"One of the reasons we laid low during Belmont while trying to get to Aqueduct was that we knew there were some races for him there," Kelly said.

Attila's Storm to tote 126 pounds

Richard Schosberg can't fathom how Attila's Storm wound up with 126 pounds for the Fall Highweight Handicap.

A 3-year-old still eligible for third-level allowance conditions, Attila's Storm ran a game fourth as a longshot in the Breeders' Cup Sprint while contesting the pace. He carried 124 pounds in the BC Sprint and was assigned 126 in the Fall Highweight, even though he has yet to finish in the money in a stakes race.

"I'm still trying to figure out how they do it," Schosberg said. "There are horses that have accomplished a whole lot more than he has and he's giving them weight."

Thunder Touch, last year's winner, carries top weight of 127 pounds.