Book Review stars in Charles Town Oaks
Gary and Mary West's homebred Book Review rolled to a convincing victory as the 7-5 favorite in Saturday night's $400,000 Charles Town Oaks. Making her two-turn debut in this seven-furlong scramble around Charles Town's tight oval, the Chad Brown trainee circled the field on the final turn and kicked 1 3/4 lengths clear.
Book Review, runner-up to multiple Grade 1 winner Questing in an allowance earlier this summer, was coming off a seventh in the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga. A rough start didn't help in that first stakes attempt, and the only unplaced effort of her career so far.
The daughter of Giant's Causeway found early trouble on Saturday night as well. Bumped by Say a Novena right after the break, Book Review appeared to be less than comfortable while racing just off heels behind a wall of horses. Regular rider Javier Castellano got her to relax near the back of the pack, and by the time they straightened up on the backstretch, she had plenty of room all around her in a clear eighth.
Up front, Swift Artist was setting a contested pace through splits of :23 1/5 and :46 3/5 on the fast track. The pacesetter then stopped abruptly, and her erstwhile prompter Beautiful But Blue took over. The new leader was in turn pressed by Holiday Soiree. Beautiful But Blue kept her head in front turning into the stretch, reaching six furlongs in 1:11 2/5, but by that point, most eyes were probably already fixed on the winner.
As the early lead was changing, Book Review was beginning to advance. She passed rivals rapidly to make up four lengths rounding the turn, and had all of the momentum entering the short stretch. Book Review inhaled the battling leaders and drew off with authority in a final time of 1:24 3/5.
"She usually doesn't break that well," Castellano said. "The last two times she hasn't really broke. This time she broke a lot better than normal but still not good enough to be real close going into the first turn. I saved enough ground on the first turn to be able to go wide and make the run around the second turn. She just kept giving tonight."
Holiday Soiree wore down Beautiful But Blue by a half-length for second. Amie's Dini rallied for fourth, followed by Say a Novena, Jazzy Idea, Well Kept, Defy Gravity, Swift Artist and Doe. The also-eligible War Play didn't draw into the field.
This first stakes credit boosted Book Review's bankroll to $353,455 while improving her record to 7-3-2-1. Runner-up to Stopshoppingmaria in her only start at two, the chestnut returned to action with a third-place effort in a January 6 maiden at Gulfstream Park. She broke her maiden next time out on May 20 at Belmont Park, defeating Dance Card, who just romped in Sunday's Belle Cherie Stakes at Belmont. Book Review hooked a buzzsaw in Questing in her first allowance tilt June 24, but cleared her entry-level condition next time out on July 20 over the same track and trip as the Test.
The Kentucky-bred is the first registered foal from the unraced Distorted Humor mare Clever Babe, who is herself a half-sister to Grade 1 heroine Irish Smoke and stakes scorer King Puma. Book Review's second dam, the winning Added Time, is in turn a full sister to Grade 2 victress Added Gold and a half-sister to Grade 3 scorer Added Asset.
Also running Saturday night at Charles Town were four undercard stakes. The first was the $51,400 Rachel's Turn for West Virginia-bred two-year-old fillies, which the heavy 1-5 post time favorite Jax and Jill had no problems tackling. The Scott Lake trainee went 4 1/2 furlongs wire-to-wire on the main track in :51. Robert L. Cole Jr.'s homebred remains undefeated after winning her stakes debut in a romp by 8 1/4 lengths with Gerald Almodovar aboard. Her short career line now reads 3-3-0-0, $73,230.
Coleswood Farm's homebred In the Fairway was able to pull off the upset of 1-5 favorite Hidden Canyon to capture the $51,250 Henry Mercer Memorial, also for state-breds. Ridden by Jose Montaro, the two-year-old colt was able to hold on down the stretch for a 2 1/2-length victory in his stakes debut. The Jeff Runco trainee was entering off his maiden win over this track last month. In the Fairway covered the 4 1/2 furlongs on the main track in :51 1/5. After his first stakes victory, his career earnings jumped to $46,870 with a record of 3-2-0-0.
Flattering Bea went off as the even-money favorite and did not disappoint in the the $75,000 Miss Shenandoah for juvenile fillies. James W. Arrison's homebred settled off the pace in the three path, eventually taking command at the quarter pole and drew clear by 2 1/2 lengths. Trained by Crystal Pickett, Flattering Bea most recently broke her maiden last time out. The Kentucky-bred went 6 1/2 furlongs over the main track in 1:20 2/5. Her career mark now stands at 3-2-0-0, $66,876.
Cramer Racing's Bayonne turned in a well-timed rally to win the $70,000 Pink Ribbon Stakes. The four-year-old bay filly was more than six lengths back with three furlongs to go but was able to dig into the lead inside the sixteenth-pole, winning by a length. The Jeffery Cramer trainee ran seven furlongs over the main track in 1:25 2/5. Coming off back-to-back wins, Bayonne was able to capture her first stakes victory with Erik Ramirez aboard. With Saturday's stakes victory, the filly improved her career record to 17-7-4-3, $142,790.
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