Bringing Back Memories
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Winter Memories

Memories of Silver proved herself a first-rate turf filly in 1996, winning the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT), the Nijana Stakes (gr. IIIT), and the listed Lake George Stakes. She trained on at 4 to win the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) and the Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) and added the Diana Handicap (gr. IIT) and the Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 5—a good career by anyone's reckoning.

Memories fade with time, but at Saratoga, it looks as if no one will be forgetting Memories of Silver any time soon. That's because her daughter Winter Memories made a point of collecting trophies in some of the same Saratoga fixtures won by her dam. Last year, Winter Memories turned in a sensational performance in the Lake George Stakes (gr. IIT), blasting by her field to win laughing after getting all but stopped at the top of the stretch. This year, Winter Memories kept family tradition alive by winning the Diana Stakes (gr. IT), her second win at the top level.

Raced as a homebred for Phillips Racing Partnership (which also bred her dam as part of the Galbreath/Phillips Racing Partnership), Winter Memories is by 2002 leading sire El Prado, whose name remains prominent as the sire of successful stallions including Medaglia d'Oro  , Artie Schiller  , and Kitten's Joy  . A son of European super sire Sadler's Wells out of 1977 Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) winner Lady Capulet, by 1968 English Horse of the Year Sir Ivor, El Prado was bred for classic glory but instead proved a precocious juvenile. The co-champion Irish juvenile male of his year with St. Jovite, El Prado failed to win in three starts at 3 and was sent to Kentucky, where he started his stud career at Airdrie Stud in 1993 at an advertised fee of $7,500. By the time he died of a heart condition at Adena Springs in 2009, he commanded 10 times as much—and that was down from a stud fee that had reached $125,000 in 2006 before the recession. To date, The Jockey Club credits El Prado with 86 stakes winners from 1,027 foals, and he is the broodmare sire of another 27 from 989 foals.

Memories of Silver was sired by another very good stallion in Silver Hawk. Although only a group III winner on the course, the son of 1972 Epsom Derby winner Roberto and 1969 Prix Jacques Le Marois winner Gris Vitesse actually showed very good form, finishing third in the 1982 Epsom Derby (Eng-I) after a less than ideal trip and second in the Irish Sweeps Derby (Ire-I). He suffered a cracked cannon bone in the latter effort, ending his career, and was given a quite respectable Timeform rating of 123 against 133 for Epsom Derby hero Golden Fleece and 134 for Irish Sweeps Derby winner Assert. At stud he outshone both, getting 77 stakes winners including 1997 Vodafone Epsom Derby winner Benny the Dip, 1999 Rothman Royals St. Leger (Eng-I) winner Mutafaweq, and 1997 Japanese champion juvenile male Grass Wonder. His name has been back in the news recently thanks to his group III-winning daughter Magnificient Style, whose daughter Great Heavens won the 2012 Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I). Also the dam of 2012 Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) winner Nathaniel, Magnificient Style is now the dam of eight stakes winners (four at group/grade I level), a rare feat indeed.

Memories of Silver is out of All My Memories, whose pedigree is steeped in Darby Dan bloodlines. Her sire is John Galbreath's homebred champion Little Current (by Sea-Bird, who stood at Darby Dan under lease, out of Luiana, a My Babu half sister to Galbreath's champions Chateaugay and Primonetta); her dam is 1973 Comely Stakes (gr. III) winner Java Moon, another Galbreath homebred by the important Darby Dan sire Graustark out of Darby Dan foundation mare Golden Trail.

As a paternal granddaughter of Roberto, Memories of Silver is bred along the same lines as many of the best from Golden Trail's family. Both champion turf male Sunshine Forever and multiple grade I winner Brian's Time were sired by Roberto from Graustark's daughters out of Golden Trail, and the late sire Dynaformer is by Roberto out of Andover Way, by His Majesty (a full brother to Graustark, and a fine sire in his own right) out of Golden Trail's daughter On the Trail (by Olympia). On the Trail also produced the stakes-winning Graustark mare Regal Road, whose daughter Regal Roberta (by Roberto) became the granddam of 2001 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos—who, for good measure, got his best runner, 2009 champion female sprinter Informed Decision, out of a His Majesty mare.

Memories of Silver has produced three other stakes winners, but Winter Memories is much the best of her foals and the one that will probably get the best opportunities to carry both her dam's legacy and that of Golden Trail. In the meantime, she has made plenty of memories of her own in the minds of racing fans.

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