Evening Jewel completes stakes trifecta for Northern Afleet
Sunday, January 30, 2011
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Evening Jewel capped off an incredible Jan. 29 for Northern Afleet when the 4-year-old filly became his third stakes winner of the day with a come-from-behind win in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita (VIDEO).

Northern Afleet's other big winners on the day were Aegean in the $200,000 Filly & Mare Sprint at Gulfstream, and Amazombie in the $200,000 Sprint at Santa Anita.

Northern Afleet is now America's Leading General Sire, and co-leader by stakes winners and stakes wins this year. He is also the only stallion in the Northern Hemisphere this year to sire three stakes winners of $100,000 or more.

Evening Jewel came from further back than usual to win the 1 1/16 mile Distaff. Seventh for the first four furlongs, jockey Victor Espinoza swung his filly wide once into the stretch to take aim on the leaders. With a prolonged drive, she made the front in deep stretch and held on to win by a half-length.

"I knew she was going to run big today," Espinoza said. "I had a tremendous trip. There was plenty of speed in the race and she settled down nice and we saved ground around the first turn. There were quite a few horses in front of me down the backside, but I decided to just stay inside and try to get lucky.

"Midway around the turn, the horses in front of me got tired and drifted off the rail and I was able to cut the corner there at the quarter pole. She’s got a tremendous turn of foot and she finished great.”

Evening Jewel was one of the top 3-year-olds in the nation last year. She captured graded stakes on Polytrack (Grade 1 Ashland S.) at Keeneland's and on the turf (Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, Grade 2 Honeymoon H., and Grade 2 San Clemente), and was second by a nose in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on the dirt. She also finished in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1), also at Churchill.

Evening Jewel banked $165,000 for her Sunshine Millions win, her seventh lifetime triumph in 16 races, which increased her earnings to $1,182,943.

Evening Jewel is the first foal out of Jewel of the Night, who is a half-sister to the multiple stakes winners Saucey Evening and Petition the Lady. She also comes from the same family that includes multiple Grade 1 winner General Challenge. Larry and Betty Mabee bred the chestnut filly in California.