Monday, October 04, 2010
In the Darby Dan Tradition, homebred
Winter Memories takes the G3 Miss Grillo
If Winter Memories' powerful win in the Miss Grillo (G3) is any indication, the Darby Dan bred, raised and owned 2-year-old is going to be a huge factor in the $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) next month at Churchill Downs. The Miss Grillo is part of the Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” program.
The $150,000 Miss Grillo, run at 1 1/16-miles on the grass, was the second lifetime start for Winter Memories, following a sharp maiden score, also on the green, Sept. 3 at Saratoga. As she did in her debut, Winter Memories settled near the back of the pack after breaking from the far outside in the field of 11. The yielding turf had been softened by several days of hard rain at Belmont Park, reflected in the very slow pace of :49.47 and 1:15.04. With plenty of traffic on the inside, jockey Jose Lezcano had to go six wide into the stretch. The extra ground didn't matter in the least; his filly took off with an incredible burst, going from ninth to the lead in less than a quarter mile. Leaving the field in her wake, she continued to pour it on, opening up to win by 5 ¼ lengths in 1:45.69.
“In the first part of the race I was behind horses and when I moved in the clear she wanted to take a hold of the bit, so I had to take a hold of her again so I could wait for the quarter pole,” said Lezcano. “Then I swung out and she just exploded. She has a really big and fast kick. I’m not surprised at her effort today – she is a really nice filly.”
Veteran trainer Jimmy Toner indicated the Breeders' Cup would be the next dance on her card, saying, “I was concerned around the turn when she started to drop back, but Jose said she was trying to take him, so he checked her...She’s a big, long-striding filly, so we wanted to keep her clear.”
Winter Memories has now earned $120,600 for Phillips Racing Partnership, the racing/ breeding nom de course of Darby Dan owner John Phillips.
And no less an observer than Steve Haskin was effusive in his praise of this filly. Writing on Blood-Horse.com, Haskin said, "The most explosive run of the entire weekend was turned in by Winter Memories,
who annihilated her opponents in the Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. IIIT) on turf with
an amazing ninth to first move that carried her to 5 ¼-length score. She went by
the leaders like they were standing still, and to demonstrate the enormity of
her victory, her time for the 1 1/16 miles was more than two full seconds faster
than the colts went in the Pilgrim Stakes (gr. IIIT) the race before.
The pedigree says Winter Memories should continue to excel on the grass. She is out of Memories of Silver, also owned and bred by Phillips, who won $1.4 million in a stellar career that saw her score in the Beverly D. (G1), Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), Diana H. (G2) and five other added money events. Memories of Silver has produced two other stakes winners, War Trace and British Blue, in addition to Winter Memories.