With Jose Lezcano riding for trainer James Toner, 3-5 favorite Winter Memories never was in doubt in the 1 1/16-mile turf test. Rated but pulling hard given the slow pace, Winter Memories ranged up three-wide entering the far turn, was asked by Lezcano, and drew away by three lengths to win in hand.
Fractions for the race were :26.11 for the opening quarter-mile, :51.41 for a half-mile, 1:13.34 for six furlongs, and 1:36.71 for one mile. The final time was a quick 1:42.61 on firm turf given the early pace.
“She just galloped over there," Lezcano said. "I had to go very close to the pace, but when I asked her, she gave me the same kick she always give me and she picked it up very quick. She usually sits back and makes a run, but today there was no pace in the race, so I had to do what I had to do. This is the kind of filly you can do whatever you want with, you can keep her close or you can take her back. Today, with six horses and no pace, I had to put her in the race.”
Winter Memories, a gray/roan Kentucky-bred filly by El Prado out of the Silver Hawk mare Memories of Silver, won the grade III Appalachian Stakes on turf at Keeneland in her 2011 debut after a second-place finish behind More Than Real in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IIT).
Winter Memories, who has raced only on grass in her five starts, now has four wins in five starts. She paid $3.20, $2.40, and $2.10.
“The outcome was good," Toner said. "Ordinarily, you don’t want to be that close, but when they go in :51 you can’t be 10 lengths back. Now that she’s getting racier, she wants to be more forward. As soon as they started slowing it down, she took him up there. We discussed the lack of pace beforehand, but I don’t tell Jose what to do. He knows the filly really well and gets along with her.
"Our main goal is the Queen Elizabeth II (gr. I, at Keeneland in October); we’ll figure out the best way to get her there and look at the Lake George (gr. II, July 27) and Lake Placid (gr. II, Aug. 21) in Saratoga.”