CHARLES TOWN—On a night in which much of the card was filled with prep races for the upcoming West Virginia Breeders Classics on Oct. 20, Charles Town offered one of its most lucrative races when it hosted the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.
While both the Charles Town Classic and Red Legend Stakes have gained national recognition in recent years—the Classic is already a Grade II and the Red Legend was once won by Big Drama, a future Breeders Cup Sprint champ – the Charles Town Oaks has yet to earn such billing. Last year’s winner was a decent sort, although runner-up Groupie Doll has since
developed into one of the best distaffers in the country.
A glimpse at the starters showed some quality starters.
Book Review, who was sent out as the 7-5 favorite under Javier Castellano, while Beautiful But Blue was the 5-2 second choice after a solid third-place finish behind Contested in the Saratoga sprint for fillies.
Swift Artist, the beaten favorite in last year’s Miss Shenandoah Stakes also held on this card, displayed the best early speed and Beautiful But Blue overcame her outside post position to loom just off the leader. Amie’s Dimi was also in good striking position early, but Book Review was reserved well off the early tempo.
Entering the far turn, Beautiful But Blue wasted little time applying serious pressure to the leader and she gained command and then braced for the challenges from Holiday Soiree and Book Review.
At the top of the lane, Beautiful But Blue, Holiday Soiree and Book Review raced three across the track on even terms and a dramatic stretch drive appeared imminent. But Book Review wanted little to do with any drama and she drew clear in the lane to a two-length score. Holiday Soiree overtook Beautiful But Blue in the final yards to gain the place spot.
Book Review rebounded in sharp fashion for trainer Chad Brown and owners Gary and Mary West to notch her third win in six starts this year.
“She usually doesn’t break that well. The last two times she hasn’t really broke,” said Castellano, who earlier this year steered Caixa Eletronica to victory in the $1 million Charles Town Classic.
“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.”
One race before the Oaks, Bayonne (Erick Ramirez) also rallied from well off the pace to capture the $70,000 Pink Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares. She notched her third win in eight starts this year and doubled her seasonal earnings to $84,000 for trainer Jeffrey Cramer, who had claimed her for only $6,250 at Penn National in January.
One race prior to the Pink Ribbon, Flattering Bea (AlbertoDelgado) used a similar tactic to capture the $75,000 Miss Shenandoah Stakes. She is trained by Crystal Pickett for owner James Arrison. She had run poorly in her debut on the grass at Colonial Downs but posted a sharp score in her second start at Delaware Park.