continued her love affair with seven furlongs, rallying past 13-10 favorite Teddy’s Promise in the final sixteenth of a mile to win the Grade II, $200,000 A Gleam Handicap.
Making her first start since finishing second in the Grade II Santa Maria Feb. 16, the 4-year-old Giant’s Causeway filly won for the fifth time in six tries at her favorite distance, prevailing by 2 ½ lengths under jockey Rafael Bejarano. The final time over Cushion Track was 1:22.75.
With the victory – her sixth in 13 starts for owner-breeders Gary and Mary West – in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In’’ race, Book Review earned a fees-paid spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, which will be run Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.
Pushing her earnings to $884,955, Book Review, who is out of the Distorted Humor mare Clever Babe, provided Bob Baffert with his second A Gleam victory in three years. The Hall of Fame trainer also won with Irish Gypsy in 2011.
In an A Gleam reduced to a field of five after the Saturday morning scratches of Reneesgotzip, Conkate and the Baffert-trained Maker Or Breaker, Book Review was kept well off the pace and in the clear by Bejarano while Winding Way showed the way with Teddy’s Promise in close attendance.
Looking for her sixth victory over Cushion Track, Teddy’s Promise, a three-time winner at seven furlongs, got the best of Winding Way inside the final eighth of a mile, but was no match for Book Review late.
The 3-1 third choice, Book Review, who has two wins and two seconds since joining Baffert’s barn late last year after winning four of nine on the opposite coast for former trainer Chad Brown, returned $8.20, $3.40 and $2.20.
“She loves this distance and it helped that we had a couple of good front runners in there, so it set up well,’’ said Baffert’s assistant trainer Mike Marlow. “It’s actually what we had in mind.
“(Bejarano) rode her well. That was her first start on synthetic and that might have been her best footing. I think she really liked it.’’
Teddy’s Promise, who saved the place by a head over Byrama, winner of the Grade I Vanity at 1 1/8 miles June 15, paid $2.60 and $2.10. The show price on Byrama was $2.20. Rumor and Winding Way completed the order of finish.
“She dueled all the way and got a little tired at the end,’’ said Ron Ellis, trainer of Teddy’s Promise. “It’s tough to duel like that, especially at this distance on this race track.’’