Thursday, July 25, 2013
With the 75th renewal of the prestigious Grade 1 Diana Stakes approaching this Saturday, Darby Dan Farm owner John Phillips and his team have a special reason–or four special reasons–to celebrate Saratoga’s biggest annual turf race for older fillies and mares. It’s because the historic Lexington-based farm is home to four living winners of the Diana – all homebreds campaigned by Darby Dan – including reigning 2012 winner Winter Memories.
All four winning Diana alumni now reside at Darby Dan and are members of its acclaimed broodmare band. Winter Memories, the newest member, joins her dam Memories of Silver, Wonder Again, and Plenty of Grace. It’s a long-standing tradition of breeding and campaigning some of North America’s top turf fillies and mares that has become synonymous with the Darby Dan brand and the farm’s well-developed female lines. It also happens to be a passion and vision of Phillips and his family.
“The Diana is one of the most storied, marquee turf events for fillies and mares on the racing calendar in my opinion, and it’s obviously a special race to Darby Dan with four of its winners currently residing on the farm in the broodmare band,” said Phillips. “Our hope is that we can continue to develop those female lines to have more future success in the Diana and America’s other top races for fillies and mares. It’s now time for broodmares like Winter Memories to try and write more chapters in Darby Dan’s story.”
Winter Memories, now 5, ended her career last summer after capturing the Diana. The classy gray mare by El Prado is in foal with a colt to leading sire Street Cry (Ire) in the first year of her career as a broodmare.
Saturday’s 75th running of the Diana also happens to be on the 150th anniversary of the historic Saratoga Race Course. Darby Dan/Phillips Partners, who have also campaigned four homebred winners of other top American filly & mare turf events such as Keeneland’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), have had the following Diana winners (with year, owner, trainer, jockey, and final time for the 1 1/8-mile race):
2012 – Winter Memories – Phillips Racing, James Toner, Javier Castellano, 1:48.50
2004 – Wonder Again – Phillips Racing Partners, James Toner, Edgar Prado, 1:48.99
1998 – Memories of Silver – Joan Phillips, James Toner, Jerry Bailey, 1:46.14
1992 – Plenty of Grace – Darby Dan Farm, John Veitch, Herb McCauley, 1:46.66