With the possible exception of a couple of maiden breakers, yesterdays Aqueduct card was pretty mundane. Except as we said, for Barrier Reef, who half bolted entering the backstretch in the second-race for juvenile colts.

Having bet on Hedgefund Investor, that was a yip-pee for me. H.I was cruising on the lead, and when he opened the lead out to nearly four lengths in midstretch, it was why didnt I bet mo?

Whats this? Oh no, its Barrier Reef, making a strong turn move into the lane and had momentum, but still had plenty to do. But the combination of the leader tiring and Barrier Reef hitting overdrive resulted in a going-away victory beneath the persistent Johnny Velazquez.

While I had no stake in the fourth race, emotional or otherwise, I still had to admire the stretch rally of debuting Thatsrightofficer.

In one breath it was will he get there? In the next, it was no problem. He drew out smartly, winning in full stride under Edgar Prado, a wide smiling Edgar Prado as he accompanied the Officer to the winners enclosure.

At the other end of the spectrum, fittingly, it was an old gray man, Evening Attire, who, three weeks short of his 10th birthday, would own the day.

Barcola, as expected, was in complete control on the front end in the Grade 3 Queens County Handicap, looking like hed be tough to beat even though over a half mile remained.

But Evening Attire was running free on this afternoon, narrowing a lead that still appeared insurmountable as the field approached the turn for home.

When Barcola put daylight between himself and his closest pursuers, the result appeared inevitable. But the younger legs that carried Evening Attire to a Jockey Club Gold Cup victory five years ago just kept chugging.

And Barcola was feeling the heat now, tiring but still chugging himself. Despite remaining on his left lead--at his age, E.A. can use whatever lead he wants--he ran down Barcola right on the line.

Its a crusty bunch of curmudgeons that gather at the Saratoga Harness simulcast each Saturday, but even they erupted as one when the wire neared, and burst into applause when Evening Attire reached the line first.

I needed Barcola to win, but even I had to smile when the old boy got up. It was, after all, T.J and Joe and Mary Grant that owned him, and thats a trifecta no one can root against.

Got to love Mary, who refused to sell her big horse to Middle Eastern interests for not quite stupid money, but into seven figures, anyway, back when Evening Attire had a lot less gray hair.

Mary Grant loves this horse the way her Hall of Fame partner, T. J. Kelly, loves all the horses, especially this one which, along with the Grants, bred this foal of 1998.

Yesterday, their old warhorse reciprocated in a fashion that has been his custom, winning for the 14th time in 63 starts, banking more than $2.7-million along the way.

Now if the story of a near 10-year-old horse winning a 102-year-old race is not worth applauding, I don't know what would be.