Thanks for the 'Memories'
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Trainer James J. Toner stood outside Barn 35 at Keeneland Race Course and tried to figure how Winter Memories, a 3-year-old filly with tenacious attitude and a graded stakes-winning resume, has captured the fancy of racing fans across the nation."You have a pretty gray horse and it just attracts people," he mused. "That's what it is; she's a beautiful gray horse and her running style is just electrifying, so she's picked up a lot of fans along the way."
“In 2009, the trainer tried to walk the path he'd taken with Memories of Silver when Winter Memories' older sister, Recollect, came to his barn. They raced her eight times, at different distances, different tracks. She never won and ran for the last time at Remington Park in a maiden special weight worth just $26,500. "I thought she'd be okay, but she never showed the determination that this filly showed," the trainer remarked. "She just wasn't there." Toner also tried tougher competition with Winter Memories' half-brother in 2004. The Storm Cat colt named War Trace won the Choice Hill Stakes at Monmouth Park in 2004, but came up with some physical issues and never made it past a Grade 3 start. Winter Memories was different. There was something about the slender gray filly that Toner couldn't get out of his mind, even after she'd been outworked by a stablemate on several occasions. "She just kept trying," the trainer recalled. "I was working her on the dirt with an Unbridled's Song filly that was quite quick, and the other filly kept beating her all the time, but she never gave up." This horse would pass Winter Memories by four lengths, but she kept going. The next time she'd beat her by three lengths, but the gray filly never stopped trying. It was early summer of her 2-year-old year when Toner opted to work her on the grass. "When we got to Saratoga I worked her on the grass out there, and it was an eye opener, like oh my god, one of those deals," he said. "Some horses were way in front of her and she broke off and caught them by the time they got to the wire and went fifty-nine and change. I said, 'We've got something here.' We ran her first time at Saratoga and she had a little trouble in the race, overcame it, broke her maiden first time out, and boy, it's been a whirlwind ever since."
She's [Winter Memories] so spoiled, and she knows who she is. But she's given us a lot of fun so far; a little bit of a heart-attack here and there.” -- Jimmy Toner, trainer of Winter Memories
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