Multiple Grade 1 queen and millionaire Winter Memories, recent winner of the Grade 1 Diana Stakes at Saratoga, has been retired from racing. The Phillips Racing Partnership homebred daughter of Silver Hawk racked up an 8-2-0 mark from 12 career starts to go along with $1,268,100 in earnings while under the tutelage of trainer Jim Toner.
"This was a total surprise to everyone concerned," reported John Phillips, manager of the family Racing Partnership. "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, an uncommon degenerative bone disease. The irony is I don't think I have ever been around a more sound horse."
Winter Memories finished worse than second on twice in her three years on track, running fourth in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in October and filling that same position in the Grade 2 Lake Placid at the Spa last August. She scored in seven graded contests, including the Grade 1 Garden City; Lake George and Sands Point, both Grade 2s; and Miss Grillo, Beaugay and Appalachian Stakes, all Grade 3 events. The gray four-year-old's two runner-up efforts came in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes.
Following her Diana win, Winter Memories was being pointed to the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational on September 29 at Belmont Park as a stepping stone to the November 2 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita Park.
"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 can not and will not risk their safety," Phillips said.
"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. Winter Memories has been an incredible blessing for the family and Darby Dan."
Arrangements are being made to ship Winter Memories back to Darby Dan, where she will join her dam, multiple Grade 1 heroine Memories of Silver and her two half-sisters in the broodmare band. Further back in this female family one can find recently-deceased sire Dynaformer, Kentucky Derby hero Monarchos, multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Brian's Time, and champions Ryafan and Sunshine Forever.
La Cloche, a Ghostzapper half-sister to Winter Memories who captured the Voodoo Dancer Stakes at Belmont Park in July, remains in training with Toner. A Tiznow half-brother will be offered for sale on the first night of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Breeding plans have yet to formulated.