Trainer Jim Cassidy thought he might be forced to retire Evening Jewel, questioning his grade I-winning filly's will to continue racing following a lackluster effort earlier in the month. But her thrilling come-from-behind victory in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff Jan. 29 before 26,694 at Santa Anita seems to have put those considerations aside.
In the winner's circle after Evening Jewel's half-length victory, a tearful Marilyn Braley, who owns California-bred daughter of Northern Afleet on behalf of her late husband Tom, said she wants the 4-year-old Evening Jewel to continue campaigning this year rather than be retired to the breeding shed.
Cassidy added, "I had a lot of questions today. I wasn’t sure she had her head in it. Personally, I wouldn’t want to cheapen her in any way and keep running her if she’d had enough; but after this performance today, you got to keep running.”
Evening Jewel ran fifth in the Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Santa Anita's hillside turf course last time and failed to show her usual late kick. It was her third consecutive defeat. But the return to the main track and 1 1/16-mile distance that she has proved many times she likes was to her benefit