West Coast invader Ceiling Crusher turned in a front-running victory in the $1 million Cotillion (G1) at Parx on Saturday, fending off a late rally from three-year-old filly division leader Pretty Mischievous by a half-length.
Although making her first start outside of her Southern California base, Ceiling Crusher figured tough to run down with her natural speed. Also working in her favor was a sloppy track, caused by remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia.
Sent to the front by Edwin Maldonado from opening bell, Ceiling Crusher held a half-length lead over longshot Majestic Creed through the opening half-mile, and then dispensed with that rival and opened up a 2 1/2-length by midstretch.
That margin proved too much for Pretty Mischievous to overcome completely inside the final furlong. The 2-1 favorite, coming off consecutive wins in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), Acorn (G1), and Test (G1), turned in another strong effort, but had to settle for second. Occult, co-second choice with Ceiling Crusher, finished 1 1/4 lengths behind in third.
The order of finish was rounded out by Hoosier Philly, Defining Purpose, Foggy Night, Just Katherine, Majestic Creed, and Imonra.
“She brought everything that she was showing us back home on the road,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “She handled everything perfectly. She has no accelerator stuck to her at all. She is not a run-off. He rode her away from there and I just thank God no one else went on a suicide mission to stop her. She has that high-cruising speed and she carried it all the way to the wire. She does not have a huge turn of foot. She has a high cruising speed, a grinder, a lot of heart.”
Owned by Wonderland Racing Stables, Todd Cady, Tim Kasparoff, and Ty Leatherman, Ceiling Crusher paid $8.60 after covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.69.
The Cotillion was the sixth win in seven starts for Ceiling Crusher, a California-bred daughter of Mr. Big who had an easy time of winning three earlier stakes engagements. She captured the Evening Jewel S. by 15 1/2 lengths and Melair S. by 17 lengths, both for state-breds at Santa Anita, last spring. Third at odds-on in the Fleet Treat S. at Del Mar after a slow start in her next start, Ceiling Crusher rebounded to take the Torrey Pines (G3) going a mile at the San Diego-are oval. She has now earned more than $938,000.
Bred by Harris Farms and a $22,000 yearling purchase, Ceiling Crusher was produced by Palisadesprincess, a daughter of Indian Charlie.