Winter Memories A Filly For All Seasons In Diana
By Jon Forbes | 07/28/2012 05:03 PM ET
Winter Memories, a winner at Saratoga Race Course in 2010 and 2011, continued her summer tradition with a tail-waving, 1 ½-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Diana for turf fillies and mares, a race her dam won in 1998.
Seeking her seventh graded stakes score and second at Saratoga, Winter Memories raced in fourth as Longines Just a Game heroine Tapitsfly ran the opening-half mile in 47.56 seconds with long shot Law of The Range applying mild pace pressure in second.
Winter Memories commenced her rally midway on the final bend, shot to the front with a furlong to travel and maintained a safe lead while drifting outward. Runner-up Dream Peace, making her first North American start since a third in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor in October, was 3 ¼ lengths clear of the third-place finisher, 2011 Diana winner Zagora.
In her two previous 2012 starts, Winter Memories won Belmont Park’s Grade 3 Beaugay by 2 ¼ lengths on May 5 and was second, beaten 2 ¼ lengths by front-running Tapitsfly, in the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game on June 9, Belmont Stakes Day.
“I was concerned a little bit because it was a small field,” said jockey Javier Castellano, who piloted Zagora in last year’s Diana. “I would have liked to cover her up a little bit at the beginning of the race. There wasn’t much speed in the race. That was my concern. It worked out great. It was amazing. She was able to cover up. She was able to finish so well today. Tapitsfly took advantage the last time [in the Just a Game]. There was not much speed in that race and it was a short distance. Today was my opportunity. My filly is a 1 1/8-mile or a 1 ¼-mile horse. She likes the two turns. She likes to cover up and she gave me that kick.”
Winter Memories, the 8-5 favorite, paid $5.50 for a $2 win wager and completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.50 over an inner turf course labeled “good.”
“There was no pace. I think we were closer due to the way the race was shaping up,” said winning trainer Jimmy Toner. “I just left it in Javier’s hands and said, ‘Just do what you want to do, but I wouldn’t let [Tapitsfly] get too far away from us today.’”
Winter Memories broke her maiden in her at Saratoga in September, 2010. Last year, she won the Grade 2 Lake George before finishing a troubled fourth in the Grade 2 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid.
The daughter of El Prado displayed a furious turn of foot to earn her first Grade 1 win in the Garden City at Belmont last September and was given a break following a fourth in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in October at Keeneland.
Overall, the Phillips Racing Partnership homebred is 8-2-0 in 12 starts. The $360,000 winner’s share of the Diana purse pushed her earnings into seven figures at $1,268,100.
By winning the Diana, Winter Memories emulated her dam, Memories of Silver, who captured the 1998 Diana as a 5-year-old for Toner and the Phillips family of Darby Dan Farm. Memories of Silver also took the 1996 Lake George.
Tapitsfly faded to fourth, followed home by Hungry Island and Law of The Range.