01/19/2002 1:00AM

Three in a row for Evening Attire


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Evening Attire captured his third consecutive stakes in Saturday's $109,200 Aqueduct Handicap when he sped through the snow for a 2 3/4-length win over Ground Storm.

With Shaun Bridgmohan in the saddle, Evening Attire came from off the pace with a quick move leaving the backstretch and surged to a narrow lead around the far turn. Evening Attire increased his advantage and was never threatened in the stretch despite leaping over the tire tracks left by starting gate.

Tempest Fugit finished third, 4 3/4 lengths behind Ground Storm in the Grade 3 stakes.

Balto Star, the 6-5 favorite, finished fifth in the seven-horse field after setting the pace through six furlongs in 1:11.76 and tiring in the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile race. Balto Star finished behind Evening Attire in the Grade 3 Queens County last month.

Richard Migliore, Balto Star's rider, said the track was playing on the dull side, which didn't help his mount.

"It had no bounce to it," Migliore said. "At the half-mile pole I knew I was in deep water."

Evening Attire ($8.90) covered the distance in 1:42.69 over a fast track.

Pat Kelly, Evening Attire's trainer, said he was surprised by the ease of his 4-year-old gelding's win.

"I thought he would be wearing them down," said Kelly, who won the Aqueduct Handicap in 2000 with Sky Approval.

Bridgmohan, who swept the late double with his win aboard Star Goldminer in the finale, said Evening Attire was keen to run down the backstretch.

"He settled great, but then down the backstretch, he saw daylight and just pulled me to the front," Bridgmohan said.

Kelly said Evening Attire, who is co-owned by his father, Tommy Kelly, and Joseph and Mary Grant, would be pointed to the $100,000-added Stymie Handicap on March 9.

Evening Attire, a son of Black Tie Affair, won the Grade 3 Discovery in October, which started his current stakes streak.