Harris Farms-Bred Ceiling Crusher Smashes Evening Jewel Field by 15.5 Lengths

Courtesy of Santa Anita Park ARCADIA, CA (April 8, 2023) — To quote the late, legendary Charlie Whittingham, “It was over when we entered.” And The Bald Eagle would’ve been right, as Doug O’Neill’s Ceiling Crusher pressed Tom’s Regret to the far turn and then opened up to air by 15 ½ lengths in Saturday’s $150,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Ridden by Juan Hernandez, Ceiling Crusher got 6 ½ furlongs in 1:15.18 to remain unbeaten in three starts.

Presented by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired runners, the Evening Jewel attracted a field of five.

With Abel Cedillo and Tom’s Regret speeding to a narrow early lead, Ceiling Crusher put a head in front mid-way around the turn and from there, her only competition was the clock.

“All the credit to my filly, she’s really great!” said Hernandez, Santa Anita’s runaway leading rider who registered his meet-leading 13th stakes win. “Doug brought her ready to win today. She was really calm and professional prior to the race and then out of the gate, she broke quickly. I was trying to get her to go slow, but she was ready to run and win this race.”

A half-length statebred allowance winner going six furlongs on Jan. 29, Ceiling Crusher was off at 1-5 and paid $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10.

“I got to thank Tim, Todd and Ty, the three T’s for being so patient (owners Tim Kasparoff, Todd Cady and Ty Leatherman),” said O’Neill. “After her last win we decided to give her a little time off and point to this race, generally it never works out, but they were so patient and took the time. That (performance) really was breathtaking.”

A 3-year-old filly by Mr. Big out of the Indian Charlie mare Palisadesprincess, Ceiling Crusher was bred in California by Harris Farms. With the winner’s share of $90,000, she increased her earnings to $173,400.

The second choice at 9-2, Tom’s Regret, who stumbled but quickly recovered leaving the gate, paid $2.80 and $2.40 while finishing three quarters of a length in front of Cholly and Frankie Dettori.

Off at 14-1, Cholly paid $2.20 to show.

Fractions on the race were 21.78, 43.98 and 1:08.57.

The Evening Jewel, run as race two on a 12-race program, was the first of six stakes on Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Day.