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Winter Memories Ready for QE II Challenge Cup

Winter Memories and Bold Hawk are Keeneland-bound after turning in separate breezes on turf at Belmont on Sunday. Clockers caught Winter Memories working five furlongs in 1:01.50, with Bold Hawk traveling the same distance in 1:02.70.


The long-range objective for Grade 1 Garden City heroine Winter Memories has been the Grade 1, 1 1/8-mile Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup for 3-year-old fillies, which will be held at Keeneland next Saturday. Her dam, Memories of Silver, won the Queen Elizabeth in 1996.


“We’re all set to go,” said Jimmy Toner, who trains Winter Memories for Phillips Racing Partnership. “She leaves tomorrow. It was a nice breeze and she finished up good, so we’re right on target. Last week we couldn’t breeze on the grass. We breezed on the dirt, which is OK, too. We got on the grass today and had a nice maintenance breeze.”


Toner said Winter Memories couldn’t be doing any better following her Garden City victory, in which she closed resolutely to prevail by a neck after being trapped behind horses in upper stretch.


“She’s where she’s supposed to be,” said Toner. “We don’t want her going over the top. She’s happy, she’s fresh. I don’t think we can move forward off that last race. I think she went as forward as she could possibly go, so we’re just maintaining her and keeping her fresh and happy.”


Patricia E. Nicholson’s Bold Hawk is targeting the Grade 3 Sycamore, a 1 ½-mile turf race that will be conducted October 20. The seven-year-old gelding missed three years of racing after winning the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby and finishing third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in 2007. He’ll enter the Sycamore off a third in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap on September 10 at Belmont Park.


“We’re going to run him at Keeneland in the Sycamore and maybe try to keep him away some of the heavies he’s been running against,” said Toner. “I’d just really would like to win a race with him. He’s just such a nice horse and gives you everything. It’s been a long time between drinks for him, so we’d like to win a race with him. I think he deserves to win one after coming back off a three-year layoff. You have to like the guy.”




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