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Winter Memories Looks Great for Beaugay

10 03 2010: Winter Memories with Jose Lezcano up win the 31nd running of the Grade III Miss Grillo, for 2-year olds fillies on the turf at 1 1/16, Belmont Park, Elmont, NY. Trainer J.J. Toner. Owners Phillips Racing Partners
Last year’s Grade 1 Garden City winner Winter Memories was said to be “great” as she prepares for her 4-year-old bow in the Grade 3, $150,000 Beaugay on May 5 at Belmont Park.

 

“I don’t know if you had a chance to look at her, close up, but she really filled out and developed over the winter,” said James Toner, who trains the El Prado filly for Phillips Racing Partnership.  “She looks great, she’s doing super, and we’re ready to go.”

 

While the horse appears ready to roll, finding a rider for the 1 1/16-mile turf race – scheduled for Kentucky Derby Day – was more complicated.

 

“Needless to say it was fun trying to line up a rider, but we got one,” said Toner. “We’re fortunate that we were able to get Eddie Castro. It’s one of those days, I guess, probably one of the few days in the entire year that all the jockeys are gone.”

 

Winter Memories – who dominated the New York turf as a sophomore with wins in the Grade 2 Lake George, and Grade 2 Sands Point in addition to the Garden City – closed out her 3-year-old campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland on October 15.

 

With the barn’s star filly on track, Toner is left to prepare the rest of his stable for Belmont’s spring/summer meet. With average daily purses set to increase 44 percent to $620,000 for the 56-day meet that begins Friday and plenty of new faces in town, the trainer said he believes the future is bright for New York racing.

 

“We’re just trying to get tied on here, said Toner. “I think it’s great for Belmont and good for racing. I have a small outfit, so I wish I had more horses, that’s all. It’s been a long time coming. New York has finally got the money that they’ve waited so long to have, so I think now they should make it to the forefront. The money will be here, and the people will be here.  Who knows what Saratoga will be like – that should be standing room only every day – but I think we’ve already started. The best outfits on the East Coast are here, every top trainer in America is here, best horses are here, it should be a great year for racing in New York.”

 

 

 

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