08/21/2010 10:29PM

Del Mar: This Jewel is brilliant


It's pretty safe to say that was a vintage Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on April 30.

Blind Luck beat Evening Jewel by a nose and since then the two fillies have combined to win five graded stakes. Blind Luck won the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks last month and the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday, taking the role as the undisputed leader of the division.

Evening Jewel has won three consecutive starts on turf - the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap at Hollywood Park in May, the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap here in July and Saturday's Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks. The Del Mar Oaks was her most impressive performance since the Kentucky Oaks when Blind Luck only caught her on the line.

In the Del Mar Oaks over 1 1-8 miles, Evening Jewel overcame trouble on the turn and rallied on the rail in the stretch to win by a half-length over Harmonious, who won the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park last month. If the Del Mar Oaks had been run over the American Oaks distance of 1 1-4 miles, the result may have been reversed, but that's speculative. Blind Luck has never run beyond 1 1-8 miles, and could prove to be effective over that trip. She won't try that distance for awhile either. Trainer Jim Cassidy, who turned 65 on Saturday, said that the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup over 1 1-8 miles on turf at Keeneland on Oct. 16 will be Evening Jewel's next race.

Her form this spring and summer, and her affection for turf, will make her tough to oppose that day.