12/03/2001 12:00AM

This win twice as sweet for Tom Kelly


JAMAICA, N.Y. - There had been many important victories over the years, enough to gain him a place in racing's Hall of Fame in Saratoga. But this one was special and Tom Kelly couldn't have been more pleased. Evening Attire, at 10-1, upset Saturday's $100,000 Queens County Handicap at Aqueduct, and Kelly was the breeder of both the winner, a 3-year-old gelding by Black Tie Affair, and the winning trainer, his son, Pat Kelly.

"I saw it on television here at home," Tom Kelly said from Miami Springs, Fla. "I thought he finished very strongly and beat some nice horses. He had so much trouble as a 2-year-old and we felt we had to geld him when he turned 3. Then there was that chip in a knee last fall. It was removed arthroscopically but it still cost him the first half of the season."

Evening Attire did not return to instant success. He caught some stakes-caliber horses the first time, was bumped early and lost position the second time back, and was compromised in heavy traffic when he ran again. But he was getting fit, and when Pat Kelly, a successful hoseman in his own right, suggested that the 1 3/16 miles of the Queens County might be just the ticket, his plan was endorsed.

"I knew the dam, Concolour," Tom Kelly recalled. "She was owned by Essie Thouron and trained by my son, Tim, who is now a racing official. I worked for the Thourons for many years, and when an opportunity arose to buy this filly, I invited Joe Grant of Quincy, Mass., an old friend and a legislative lobbyist, to be a partner. He and his wife, Mary, both keen racing fans, came aboard."

After watching Evening Attire in a couple of races, Pat Kelly opted for blinkers to help him focus on the job. They proved immediately effective and were cited as a factor in his winning the Discovery Handicap in late October. He improved from that performance to win the Queens County, rating nicely for Shaun Bridgmohan and then coming on through the stretch to catch the odds-on favorite, Balto Star.

"We'll be racing in New York this winter," Pat Kelly said, "and Evening Attire should see action He has only had a handful of starts this year. He is a half-brother to Sikkim, winner of over $125,000, and to Casimir, a winner of $150,000, and we also have a yearling colt out of Concolour by a fine horse I trained, Sultry Song. He looks like a prospect."

Like mother like daughter

Cadillacing, owned by Ogden Phipps, was a come-from-behind sprinter and a good one, winning the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes over seven furlongs at Saratoga.

Her first foal, Strolling Along, by Danzig, won the Lawrence Realization at Belmont Park, going 1 1/2 miles.

Another of Cadillacing's foals is Cat Cay, by the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Pleasant Colony. Like her dam, Cat Cay is a come-from-behind sprinter who has yet to indicate she wants to stay more than a mile.

Cat Cay began to get good this fall, came from off the pace to win the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland, and followed the same tactics to capture the recent Top Flight Handicap at a mile for fillies and mares at Aqueduct. She was last in a field of nine away from the gate and ran them all down in an eye-catching drive.

Cat Cay is now at Gulfstream Park, getting ready for such features as the Old Hat and the Shirley Jones.

Cadillacing died in the spring of 1998 after foaling a Storm Cat colt. The colt, Easing Along, won his first two starts and looked like a good one, but fractured a cannon bone and hasn't run since. He is on the way back, however, and it will be interesting to observe his style.