Trainer Jimmy Toner was a mix of stoic and sentimental as he talked this morning about multiple Grade 1 winner Winter Memories, whose retirement midway through her 4-year-old campaign was announced Thursday afternoon.
“You can’t call it ‘devastating,’” he said, “but it’s a pretty good hit.”
Toner, who with the filly received a steady stream of
well-wishers at the barn all morning, said that Winter Memories came
out of her victory in Grade 1 Diana on July 28 in good order, but
developed filling in her ankles after she returned to training.
“The X-ray showed that she had some
bruising in the condyles, which in itself is not a major issue, but you
can’t run,” he said. “Right now it’s not serious; it’s not even an
Winter Memories likely will ship home to
Darby Dan Farm in Kentucky within a few days, a departure Toner is not
looking forward to.
“With her not being in that first stall,
there’s going to be a bit of an empty feeling,” he said. “I don’t think
too many like her come down the pike. We’ve had a lot of nice horses,
good horses; we had a champion. But they were workmanlike; they did
“This filly has done things I’ve never seen before. She’s got the ‘wow’ factor, and that’s the part you don’t see too often.”
The popular gray filly, a daughter of El
Prado out of Memories of Silver, compiled a record of 8-2-0 from 12
starts, with seven graded stakes victories and earnings of $1,268,100.
This year, in addition to the Diana, she won the Grade 3 Beaugay at
Belmont Park and finished second in the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game
on June 9.
Toner expressed particular regret that such a fan favorite was going to leave the racetrack.
“I’m sure many people were sorry to hear this,” he said. Then he laughed. “None more than me.”