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Winter Memories Heads QE II Hopefuls

2011 05 30: Winter Memories with Jose Lezcano win the Grade 3 Sands Point Stakes for 3 year olds fillies at 1 1/16 mile, Belmont Park. Trainer James J. Toner. Owner Phillips Racing Partnership

Keeneland racing secretary Ben Huffman said Saturday morning that the connections of seven 3-year-old fillies had accepted invitations for the 28th running of the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) to be contested at 1 1/8 miles on the turf on Saturday, October 15.

 

Among the invitees are the top three finishers from last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2): More Than Real, Winter Memories and Kathmanblu; the top three finishers from the Del Mar Oaks (G1): Summer Soiree, Star Billing and Nereid; and, Marketing Mix, winner of the Pucker Up (G3) at Arlington Park in her most recent start.

 

The Phillips Racing Partnership’s Winter Memories has won four of five starts in 2011 and has beaten More Than Real in their two meetings this year. Trained by James Toner, Winter Memories opened her 2011 campaign with a victory in the one-mile Appalachian (G3) here this spring.

 

Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables’ Kathmanblu also is a Keeneland turf stakes winner, having captured the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine last fall. Trained by Ken McPeek, Kathmanblu finished eighth behind Winter Memories in the Grade 1 Garden City in her most recent start. McPeek said Kathmanblu is scheduled to work on the Keeneland turf course on Monday.

 

Team Valor International’s Summer Soiree has not run at Keeneland, but she trained here this spring prior to running in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). Trained by Graham Motion, Summer Soiree is two-for-two on the turf with a victory in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs at Monmouth Park in addition to her Del Mar Oaks victory.

 

George Krikorian’s Star Billing and Eric Kronfeld’s Nereid are both trained by John Shirreffs and are graded stakes winners on the turf in California. Star Billing won the Senorita (G3) at Hollywood Park and Nereid dead-heated for the victory in the American Oaks (G1) at Hollywood Park. Nereid finished a head in front of Star Billing in the American Oaks and Star Billing finished a nose in front of Nereid in the Del Mar Oaks.

 

Glen Hill Farm’s Marketing Mix also is undefeated on the turf in two starts. In addition to the Pucker Up, which she won by 3¼ lengths, Marketing Mix won the Wonder Where at Woodbine by 4¾ lengths. Marketing Mix is trained by Tom Proctor.

 

In addition to the seven confirmed invitees, Huffman said three other fillies were under consideration for the race that was won last year by Harmonious, who was trained by Shirreffs.

 

 

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