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Evening Jewel Scores in Del Mar Oaks

Evening Jewel wins the Honeymoon
Photo: Benoit photo

Versatile and ultra-consistent Evening Jewel, the 7-5 favorite under jockey Victor Espinoza, overcame traffic trouble entering the stretch to charge to the front along the rail and win the featured Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Oaks for three-year-old fillies Saturday.

 

Blocked behind horses at the top of the final straightaway, Evening Jewel was guided to the rail by Espinoza, quickly took command when in the clear and then held on determinedly to win by a half-length over 3-1 second choice Harmonious. The latter circled the field on the final turn under jockey Mike Smith to loom a serious threat, but drifted out through the stretch to compromise her chance to win.

 

Third in the classy field of nine fillies was Canadian invader Perfect Shirl, with Chantal Sutherland up, followed by longshot Antares World in fourth.

 

Evening Jewel, a daughter of Northern Afleet, was purchased for only $8,000 as a yearling at Keeneland by her owner, Tom Braly of Braly Family Trust in September, 2008.  First money of $180,000 increased her career earnings to $876,943. Her record reads six victories in a dozen starts with five seconds, including nose losses to divisional leader Blind Luck in the Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita and the prestigious Kentucky Oaks, both Grade I races.

 

Triumphant over Del Mar's infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course in the Oaks, Evening Jewel now can boast of victories on the grass and over a synthetic surface, having won the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in early April.

 

For trainer Jim Cassidy, Evening Jewel's win had to be especially memorable since the veteran conditioner was celebrating his 65th birthday Saturday.

 

Evening Jewel paid $4.80, $2.80 and $2.20. Harmonious, victress in the Grade I American Oaks at Hollywood Park in her previous race, returned $3.20 and $2.60, while Perfect Shirl paid $3.20 to show.

 

 

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