The Beaugay, a 1 1/16-mile event for fillies and mares, is New York’s first graded turf stakes of the year and is the co-feature on a card that includes the Fort Marcy (gr. IIIT), also on the turf.
Winter Memories' biggest win of 2011 came in the grade I Garden City when winning by a neck after a furious late charge. It was the fifth graded stakes victory overall for Winter Memories, who previously at Belmont won the Ms. Grillo (gr. IIIT) in 2010 and the Sands Point (gr. IIT) in 2011.
The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland
was Winter Memories’ long-term objective for 2011, but she failed to deliver her usual stretch run that day and finished fourth, beaten 5 1/2 lengths.
“I’m not sure if she likes Keeneland, and I think she went over the top after the Garden City,” said trainer Jimmy Toner. “I think she left it all out there. There was nothing left. Unfortunately, it was the race we pointed for all year long, but she was just over the top.”
Freshened over the winter, Winter Memories will make her first start against older opponents in the Beaugay.
“She has developed and matured over the winter,” said Toner. “She’s filled out. We haven’t missed a beat, and we look forward to having her back. The ultimate goal this year would be the Breeders’ Cup, but it’s one step at a time. We’re looking forward to getting back in the groove.”
Winter Memories forms a coupled entry with La Cloche
, her 5-year-old half sister who is unraced since finishing fifth in Saratoga's restricted De La Rose Stakes. The Phillips Racing Partnership tandem was made the 8-5 morning-line favorite.
Eddie Castro will ride Winter Memories from post 2, with Mike Luzzi having the assignment aboard La Cloche from post 3.
Trainer Christophe Clement has also entered a pair in the Beaugay, sending out Check the Label
, who seeks her first win since taking the 2010 Garden City, and Federation
, an up-and-comer who was second to Zagora
in the Hillsborough (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs
In her final two starts of 2011, Check the Label was 10th in the grade I Beverly D. in August at Arlington Park
and seventh in Presque Isle Downs
’ H.B.P.A. Stakes in October for trainer Graham Motion. She was transferred to Clement in February.
“She’s training well,” said Clement, who trains Check the Label for Lael Stables. “She’s a very good filly who lost her form last year. It’s time for her to come back. She might need the race, but she looks well.”
Check the Label will break from post 8 with Rosie Napravnik at the helm.
Guy Roxburghe’s Federation, who won a single race in five starts in England, has blossomed since arriving in the United States. All three of her stateside starts have come at Tampa Bay, where she blew out a pair of allowance fields before finishing second by 1 3/4 lengths to the 2011 Diana winner in the Hillsborough.
“She’s a lovely filly,” said Clement. “She didn’t win many races in England, so it was nice to give her some easy races before trying stakes company. Unfortunately, it’s not easy in New York. Winter Memories will be a formidable opponent. It’s very competitive. That’s New York. That’s what makes it fun when you’re good enough to win.”
Cornelio Velasquez will ride Federation from the rail.
$150,000 Beaugay Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 7, 4:02 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/6 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Federation (GB), C H Velasquez, 115, C Clement
2. a-Winter Memories (KY), E Castro, 119, J J Toner
3. a-La Cloche (KY), M J Luzzi, 115, J J Toner
4. Hessonite (NY), I Ortiz Jr., 117, D G Donk
5. Principal Role (KY), J Alvarado, 115, W I Mott
6. Gitchee Goomie (NY), A Garcia, 117, R A Violette Jr.
7. My Redbyrd (KY), E S Prado, 115, J P Terranova, II
8. Check the Label (KY), R Napravnik, 115, C Clement
9. Check Point (KY), D Cohen, 115, A E Goldberg
a- Phillips Racing Partnership entry