By Jon Forbes | 09/03/2010 05:24 PM ET
Winter Memories evoked recollections of her Grade 1-winning dam with a professional debut victory on the turf at Saratoga Race Course on Friday.
The juvenile is the eighth foal out of Memories of Silver, who in four starts at Saratoga won the Lake George and Grade 3 Nijana in 1996, and the Grade 3 Ballston Spa Breeders’ Cup Handicap and Grade 2 Diana in 1997. Outside New York, Memories of Silver captured the 1996 Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup and the 1997 Grade 1 Beverly D.
Looking to start her own career on the right foot, Winter of Memories settled in seventh under Jose Lezcano through the backstretch run before she started to thread her way through the field on the far turn. After finding room along the hedge, the gray gradually reeled in the pacesetter, grabbing the lead with a sixteenth to go and opening up to win by 1 ½ lengths. The final time for 1 1/16 miles on the Inner Turf Course was 1:42.58.
“She was very professional and handled herself in good order,” said Jimmy Toner, who also trained Memories of Silver for the Phillips family of Darby Dan Farm. “You’re always hopeful that they’ll live up to expectations, but you never until they run. She showed us what we expected of her. Everything we could possibly ask her to do, she did it.”
In addition, Toner trained Winter Memories’ half-brother War Trace, winner of the 2004 Choice Stakes on the grass at Monmouth Park, and currently conditions her half-sister La Cloche, who won a Saratoga turf allowance on August 8.
Toner was reluctant to compare Winter Memories, by notable turf influence El Prado, to her mother and siblings.
“La Cloche has more of her mother’s demeanor than Winter Memories,” said Toner. “Winter Memories is a pleasant filly to be around and has no bad habits. Memories of Silver was kind of feisty. They are different types of horse.”
But when it comes to affinity for the grass, Winter Memories – who has another stakes-winning half-brother named British Blue – emulates her mother and siblings.
“Because of her breeding and action, we always thought she’d be a grass horse,” said Toner, who added that the gray filly is likely to make her next start in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo at Belmont on October 2.