10/22/2012 4:00PM

Belmont Park: Book Review to go long in Imperial Gesture

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Charles Town
Book Review will stretch out in distance in Wednesday’s $85,000 Imperial Gesture Stakes at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – It would not have been a surprise had the connections of Book Review opted to pre-enter her Monday in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint to be run Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.

After all, she ran a terrific race winning the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks at seven furlongs – the distance of the Filly and Mare Sprint – on Sept. 22.

But after some consideration, trainer Chad Brown and owners Gary and Mary West opted not to point to that race and instead will experiment by stretching her out in distance in Wednesday’s $85,000 Imperial Gesture Stakes at Belmont Park.

The Imperial Gesture, restricted to 3-year-old fillies who have yet to win a graded race, is a prep for the Grade 1 Gazelle at 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct on Nov. 24.

“Trying her against a salty group like that out there at Santa Anita where that track might play to speed, and she definitely comes from off the pace, we didn’t think was the right move for her right now,” Brown said. “Maybe experimenting going longer and pointing to a race like the Gazelle will be the lesser of two evils. If it works out, it could be pretty rewarding for her.”

The one time Book Review ran beyond seven furlongs was in a one-mile, first-level allowance race where she finished second to Questing, who came back to win the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama – both Grade 1 races at Saratoga.

“I think trying her at a distance around one turn is a fair compromise, and let’s see if she gets the mile and a sixteenth. And if she runs well in here, we’re really looking to try her in the Gazelle,” Brown said.

Book Review, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway, will break from post 2 under Javier Castellano in the Imperial Gesture.

Munnings Sister is another sprinter stretching out from seven furlongs. Munnings Sister won an overnight stakes going seven furlongs here Oct. 7, and trainer Barclay Tagg initially said owner Charles Fipke wanted to try the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. But that would most likely have been too big a step, and so she, too, is experimenting at a distance of ground. Junior Alvarado replaces Castellano aboard Munnings Sister, who breaks from post 3.

Lady Cohiba, trained by Christophe Clement, won the Summer Guest Stakes at Saratoga at 1 1/8 miles before finishing third to the promising Dance Card in the Belle Cherie Stakes here Sept. 23. She was successful in one-turn races earlier in her career.

Final Escrow, who finished ahead of Lady Cohiba in the Belle Cherie, is another contender in this field. Ciguaraya and Harbor Mist look like longshots.