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Winter Memories Seeks Clean Trip in Garden City

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
Having already collected nine graded stakes wins among them, an outstanding field of 3-year-old fillies will vie for their first Grade 1 victory Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park in the 34th running of the $250,000 Garden City.

Heading the pack for the 1 1/8-mile turf race, which will be broadcast live on MSG Plus from 5-5:30 p.m. EDT, is 8-5 morning-line favorite Winter Memories, looking to rebound from her first loss of the year. Sent off as the odds-on choice in the Grade 2 Lake Placid at Saratoga Race Course on August 21, the strapping gray daughter of El Prado finally found room in the stretch after a troubled trip but never kicked in when finishing fourth behind Hungry Island.

With new jockey Javier Castellano aboard for the Garden City, trainer Jimmy Toner is hopeful Winter Memories will again flash the form that carried her to a 5-1-0 mark from six previous starts, including four graded stakes wins.

"I would like for her to make amends for her last race," said Toner, who has saddled Winter Memories to win 2010's Grade 3 Miss Grillo and the Grade 3 Appalachian, the Grade 2 Sands Point and the Grade 2 Lake George this year. "I certainly don't want to take anything away from Hungry Island, who ran a great race. I just hope she can run her race, is all."

Winter Memories drew post position 4 for the Garden City, in which she will carry high weight of 123 pounds.

Hungry Island will be going for her fifth straight win, having extended the streak to four in the 1 1/8-mile Lake Placid with a last-to-first run that carried her to a 2 ½-length victory over Kathmanblu. No worse than third in eight career starts, the More Than Ready filly has won three of her four starts over Belmont's turf courses.

"I think that last race was obviously her best race," said Buzz Tenney, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, of Hungry Island. "All summer long we've seen improvement and I think there's room for more improvement, too."

Hungry Island, whose lone loss at Belmont came last October when she was second to Ruthenia in a maiden race, will be ridden by Alex Solis from post 3 as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line.

Lake Placid runner-up Kathmanblu will be making her third Grade 1 appearance, having finished third in the Grade 1 Ashland in April over the artificial surface at Keeneland followed by a sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks. Subsequently switched back to the turf, the Bluegrass Cat filly was fourth, beaten 2 ¾ lengths in the Grade 3 Regret at Churchill Downs in June prior to the Lake Placid.

Jose Lezcano rides Kathmanblu, 8-1 on the morning line, from post 6.

More Than Real closed out her 2010 campaign with a victory over Winter Memories in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, then traveled to Ascot to open her 3-year-old season with an 11th-place finish in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes on June 17, after which she finished third in the Lake George.

"She just arrived this morning from Saratoga," said Whit Beckman, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. "Her condition is good, and she looks as good as I've ever seen her. The Lake Placid was her first race since the disappointment in England; hopefully she will improve off that."

More Than Real, who carries the colors of celebrity chef Bobby Flay, drew the rail and was listed at 8-1 on the morning line. Corey Nakatani will ride.

Returning to the turf after a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Alabama to Royal Delta is the Tony Dutrow-trained Pinch Pie. The Victory Gallop filly is 2-0-1 in three grass starts this year, including a victory in the Desert Vixen at Monmouth on July 24.

"I feel she handles the turf excellently," said Dutrow, who conditions Pinch Pie for Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables. "I think she's even better now than she was going into the Alabama. There's so much to gain from running in a Grade 1 race like this and I'm giving her, and our team, the opportunity."

Pinch Pie, 10-1 on the morning line, drew post position 8 with Jeremy Rose in the irons.

Rounding out the field are Theyskens' Theory, a Group 3 winner in Europe who most recently took the De Vere Venues Atalanta Stakes at Sandown; Salary Drive, who captured the Dauphin Miss at Penn National last time out, and Arch Support, winner of a Saratoga turf allowance at the Garden City distance on September 1.


Draw It was entered Main Track Only.

The field for the Grade 1, $250,000 Garden City:

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

More Than Real (KY)

C S Nakatani

120

T A Pletcher

 8-1

2

Salary Drive (KY)

J Bravo

116

E Plesa, Jr.

20-1

3

Hungry Island (KY)

A O Solis

120

C R McGaughey III

 3-1

4

Winter Memories (KY)

J Castellano

123

J J Toner

 8-5

5

Arch Support (KY)

D Cohen

116

G C Contessa

20-1

6

Kathmanblu (KY)

J Lezcano

118

K G McPeek

 8-1

7

Theyskens' Theory (KY)

G K Gomez

118

B Meehan

 4-1

8

Pinch Pie (KY)

J Rose

116

A W Dutrow

10-1

9

Draw It (KY) (MTO)

 

116

T Albertrani

 4-1

 


 

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Older Comments about Winter Memories Seeks Clean Trip in Garden City...

To my mind, Winter Memories is the class of the American turf fillies. More Than Real ran over her head in last year's BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, and hasn't reproduced anything close to that as a 3yr.old. I believe the Garden City Stakes will come down to a 2-horse affair between Winter Memories and the Brian Meehan trained, Theysken's Theory, who's coming over from the UK for the Garden City. Theysken's Theory tried conventional dirt in last year's BC Juvenile Fillies. But has proven to be far more effective on turf in the UK. She's won 2 of 3 starts so far in 2011. Including the Atalanta Stakes at Newbury last time out.
Liking Pinch Pie as longshot along with Pletcher's More Than Real as possible upsetters here.
Winter Memories is still the horse to beat. My upset special is Pinch Pie. A daughter of Victory Gallop, bred by Runnymede Farm, was closing fast in the Alabama and should relish a return to her preferred surface. Lock and Load.

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