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Winter Memories, More Than Real Clash in Lake George

More Than Real handed Winter Memories the first and only defeat of her career when they met last fall in the Grade 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the sophomores will square off again Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga Race Course in the Grade 2, $150,000 Lake George.

When the fillies faced each other in November, their records were similar, but not identical. Both posted debut maiden victories going 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Saratoga, and both prepped for the championships in Grade 3 grass races. Winter Memories won the Grade 3 Miss Grillo at Belmont Park by 5 ¼ lengths despite coming six wide into the stretch, while More Than Real was defeated 1 ½-lengths by New Normal in the Grade 3 Natalma at Woodbine.

Sent off at 13-1 in the Breeders' Cup, More Than Real swept to the front and drew clear by two lengths as favored Winter Memories held second by a head. After that race, their paths diverged. Both enjoyed idle winters, but Winter Memories holds a clear advantage in 2011, having posted back-to-back stakes victories in the Grade 3 Appalachian at Keeneland, and the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont on Memorial Day, while her juvenile rival is winless after a single start.

"I don't know if it's so much a rematch," James Toner, trainer of Winter Memories, said of the Lake George. "[More Than Real] won the Breeders' Cup, and I was second.

"She's done everything she's supposed to do," added Toner, who trains the daughter of El Prado for her breeders, the Phillips Racing Partnership. "She's filled out, she's matured and developed, and we couldn't be happier with the way she is doing. So far, so good. We're ready to go and anxious to get started."

Winter Memories, made the even-money favorite on the morning line, will leave from post position 4 with Jose Lezcano. Toner will also sent out Sunlight Sonata, who will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh from post 2.

As Winter Memories looks to build on her 2011 success, More Than Real looks to regroup after a disappointing 11th-place effort in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 17. The More Than Ready miss has turned in three works since returning from England including a four furlong breeze (49.11) over the Oklahoma turf course on Friday.

"She came out of her work yesterday in good shape and seemed to handle the Ascot trip well," said Pletcher. "We're trying to get back on course after a failed trip to England, so we'll hope that she's back to her Breeders' Cup form. She's training very well and we're ready to run."

Second choice on the morning line at 2-1, More Than Real will leave from post 6 with John Velazquez aboard for the first time.

Pletcher will also saddle Paul Pompa's Bellamy Star, a daughter of Bellamy Road who exits a win in the Xtra Heat overnight stakes at Belmont on June 5 for previous trainer Carl Domino.

"She's been very straightforward," said Pletcher. "She's trained really well and it would be my guess that she'll be pretty forwardly placed against this group."

Bellamy Star, 5-1 on the morning line, gets the services of Ramon Dominguez from post position 5.

Stepping into stakes company for the first time is Calmafterthestorm, who exits a fourth-place turf allowance finish at Parx Racing on Independence Day.

"We felt that it was worth taking a shot to get black type," said Kiaran McLaughlin, who has trained the Broken Vow filly since April. "We decided to take a chance, and maybe we can get lucky with a slow pace and get a piece of it. It's an important race, Grade 2, but it is very tough."

Completing the field is Grade 3 Iowa Oaks winner Little Miss Holly, who will try turf for the first time in the Lake George. Marion Ravenwood was entered main track only.


The Field for the Grade 2, $150,000 Lake George:

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Little Miss Holly (KY)

C J Lanerie

116

S Margolis

12-1

2

Sunlight Sonata (KY)

R Maragh

116

J J Toner

10-1

3

Calmafterthestorm (KY)

A Garcia

116

K P McLaughlin

15-1

4

Winter Memories (KY)

J Lezcano

122

J J Toner

EVEN

5

Bellamy Star (FL)

R A Dominguez

120

T A Pletcher

5-1

6

More Than Real (KY)

J R Velazquez

120

T A Pletcher

2-1

7

Marion Ravenwood (KY) (MTO)

J R Velazquez

120

H G Motion

8-5

 


 

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