Winter Memories, who has been off since finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IIT), made a smashing season debut April 21, running down longshot Dos Lunas late to win the $100,000 Appalachian Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) at Keeneland.
Phillips Racing Partnerships’ homebred 3-year-old filly Winter Memories won for the third time in four lifetime starts. The daughter of El Prado outfinished 42–1 Dos Lunas by a neck with Jose Lezcano aboard, completing one mile on the firm turf course in 1:37.27. Phillips Racing Partnership is Darby Dan Farm owner John Phillips and his sisters Dianne Phillips Albrecht and Debbie Phillips Bower. They are the grandchildren of Darby Dan Farm founder John W. Galbreath.
It was the second graded stakes win for Winter Memories, who is trained by Jimmy Toner. The gray/roan filly won the Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park as a 2-year-old before missing by two lengths to More Than Real in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf in November at Churchill Downs.
She has now earned $360,600.
With Lezcano in the irons, Winter Memories raced near the pace during an opening quarter-mile in :24.15, which was set by New Normal. She dropped back to mid-pack down the backstretch as New Normal and Javier Castellano took the field of 10 sophomore fillies through a :49.02 half-mile, while Dos Lunas pressed the pace under Jon Court.
Dos Lunas cornered the second turn perfectly and took over entering the stretch. She put away the tiring leader, but now had to contend with Winter Memories, who came five-wide into the stretch and had her sights set on the lead. She kept charging until edging in front only a few strides from the wire.
Dos Lunas settled for second, 2 1/2 lengths in front of Parting Words, who rallied along the hedge to nip My Redbyrd by a neck.
"We're very happy the way she came back," Toner said. "She wintered very well. She matured. She developed. We gave her time and I couldn't be any happier with the way she ran today.
"We will probably go in the Sands Point (gr. IIT, May 30 at Belmont) next, but our main objective is still to come back here in the fall (for grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup."
Winter Memories was bred in Kentucky and is out of the Silver Hawk mare Memories of Silver.
Sent off as the 9-10 favorite, Winter Memories paid $3.80, $3.20, and $2.40. The exacta (4-2) returned $138.80 and the trifecta (4-2-11) was worth $902.60.