Winter Memories forced to retire
SARATOGA SPRINGS Winter Memories, recent winner of the Grade I Diana, has been retired from racing by the Phillips Racing Partnership due to the discovery of an uncommon degenerative bone disease in her ankles.
“The irony is, I don't think I have ever been around a more sound horse,” John Phillips, manager of the family's racing partnership, said in a news release.
The home-bred daughter of Memories of Silver will join her dam at Darby Dan Farm, along with two half sisters, as a broodmare. No breeding plans have been made yet.
“This was a total surprise to everyone concerned,” Phillips said. “Winter Memories had trained flawlessly up to the Diana, raced impressively, and was happy to be back on the track again. She looks and acts great, but two days ago, her ankles were a little warm despite flexing well, precautionary X-rays were taken and the results were crushing news.
“[Trainer] Jim Toner did a superb job, we feel terrible for him and the crew, but he understands that Winter Memories represents five generations of horses for Darby Dan, and we cannot and will not risk their safety.”
Winter Memories was 8-2-0 from 12 starts with a pair of fourth-place finishes. Every one of her races, except her debut in a maiden special weight race, was in a graded stakes.
“We are terribly disappointed, of course, and while I admit to being totally biased, I think she is the best in her division with the kind of athleticism that left you in near disbelief of her ability to overcome,” Phillips said.
FIRST WORK BACK
Alpha, winner of the Grade II Jim Dandy, breezed Thursday morning in his first work toward the Grade I $1 million Travers.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin worked him a little earlier instead of on the weekend because of the forecast.
“He worked great, and we moved it up because of the weather,” he told the New York Racing Association. “It looks like rain is coming for the next couple of days, and we didn't want to risk it. Next week, we'll have a window of about four days. He'll work next Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, depending on weather.”
Alpha worked four furlongs in 48.33 seconds on the main track.
Trainer Steve Asmussen said My Miss Aurelia is doing well after winning the Mandys Gold on Wednesday.
“She came out of the race great, and we're very happy with the way she ran,” he said.
There is still no indication when or where she may race next. She will not work out until next weekend.
My Jopia had just enough gas left at the end of the $100,000 New York Stallion Series Statue Of Liberty Division to hold off the late charge of Manero by a nose.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez said the 3-year-old filly handled the mile on the inner turf well, even though a rain shower just before the race had softened the turf a bit.
“I had a really great trip,” he said. “I didn't know how much speed was going to develop. On paper, there was the potential for a lot of speed. I just let her come over from there, and she was comfortable laying second. Turning for home, there was a little give to the ground, due to the rain we got not long ago. She seemed like she was getting tired, but she kept on fighting to get up.”
Dominguez and My Jopia, running for trainer Dominick Schettino, let Take It Inside go off to the early lead through fractions of 23.85 and 48.21. In the second turn, Dominguez took My Jopia to the outside of Take It Inside and was past her at the eighth pole. Then a pack led by Manero and including Why Take a Chance and Hlao Roo kicked for home. Manero gained separation from the others in the deep stretch to challenge My Jopia, falling short by a nostril.