Five-time graded stakes winner Winter Memories is on track to have another big season, according to trainer Jimmy Toner, as she prepares for her 4-year-old bow in the $150,000 Beaugay (gr. IIIT) on May 5 at Belmont Park.
“I don’t know if you had a chance to look at her, close up, but she really filled out and developed over the winter,” said Toner, who trains the El Prado filly for Phillips Racing Partnership. “She looks great, she’s doing super, and we’re ready to go.”
While the horse appears ready to roll, finding a rider for the 1 1/16-mile turf race—scheduled for Kentucky Derby Day—was more complicated.
“Needless to say it was fun trying to line up a rider, but we got one,” said Toner. “We’re fortunate that we were able to get Eddie Castro. It’s one of those days, I guess, probably one of the few days in the entire year that all the jockeys are gone.”
Winter Memories, who dominated the turf as a sophomore with wins in the Garden City (gr. IT) as well as four other graded stakes, closed out her 3-year-old campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT) at Keeneland on Oct. 15.
In other news at Belmont, champion Royal Delta has returned from her trip to Dubai in good order and has resumed galloping for trainer Bill Mott. There are no immediate plans for her return to racing after finishing ninth in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) on March 31.
“She’s just started up galloping,” Mott said. “She’s been tack-walking and jogging, and she got to feeling so good I had to start training her. I can’t hardly hold her on the ground.”