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CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- In 2012, Book Review swept from eighth place past a game Holiday Soiree to win the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. A year later, the two will rumble again Saturday night in the $200,000 Sugar Maple presented by CANTER Mid-Atlantic at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
The Sugar Maple, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares, 4-years-old and up, drew a field of seven and is one of five supporting stakes on the undercard of the Grade 2, $1.5 million Charles Town Classic, one of the richest horse races in the country.
Two races after winning the Oaks last year, Book Review was sent to the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, and she scored immediately for him, winning the Grade 1 La Brea at Santa Anita, defeating, among others, multiple Grade 1 winner and Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic runner-up My Miss Aurelia.
She has since finished second twice, in back-to-back Grade 2 races this year at Santa Anita, and heads into the Sugar Maple off a two-month freshening.
"She's doing great, so she's going," said Baffert, who had Book Review on the same plane east as his prize older horse Game On Dude, who will contest the Classic. "She had a breeze Monday and came out fine. She's ready."
Holiday Soiree, a 4-year-old daughter of Harlan's Holiday bred by former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones, meantime, also races in the Sugar Maple for a different trainer after finishing second last year in the Oaks.
Run to Win Again Stable and Unlimited Equine purchased Holiday Soiree privately about a month ago and turned her over to trainer Tevis McCauley, who has been preparing her for the Sugar Maple over the track at Keeneland.
"I really like her," McCauley said. "She just impresses me more and more. This morning was the best she's looked since I had her [worked five furlongs in 1:01 on Monday]. She's definitely a seven-eighths or less horse watching her train; that race [the Sugar Maple] is perfect for her."
Holiday Soiree has not raced since finished second in the Safely Kept Stakes last November at Laurel Park, but she has run well in all of her starts off layoffs.
"She liked the track," McCauley said of Holiday Soiree's race last year in the Charles Town Oaks. "We'd like to give her another shot over it."
Katie Get Excited, a 4-year-old daughter of Eclipse Award winner Stevie Wonderboy, races in the Sugar Maple for the first time since finishing third in a stakes last July at Woodbine. She has raced her entire career at the Canadian track with a Polytrack surface and holds a Grade 3 stakes placing.
Front-running speedster Dangerous Vixen enters the Sugar Maple off a sharp gate-to-wire score in the Violet Handicap on February 26 at the track. The daughter of Forest Danger, trained by William Starritt, has won six of 18 lifetime at Charles Town, her home track.
Dance to Bristol, who has won two straight and finished in the exacta in nine of her 10 past starts, completes the field along with Kalambaka Queen and Bayonne.