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Toner reflects on Winter Memories

James Toner

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 injury.”

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 their jobs.

“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.”

 

 

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