“This was a total surprise to everyone concerned,” said John Phillips, manager of family partnership Phillips Racing Partnership. “Winter Memories had trained flawlessly up to the Diana, raced impressively, and was happy to be back on the track again. She looks and acts great but two days ago her ankles were a little warm despite flexing well. Precautionary x-rays were taken and the results were crushing news, an uncommon degenerative bone disease. The irony is I don’t think I have ever been around a more sound horse.”
Winter Memories, a homebred by El Prado (IRE) out of Memories of Silver, by Silver Hawk, was regarded as one of the top turf fillies of her generation, and she was a significant graded stakes winner at two, three and four for trainer James Toner.
“Jim Toner did a superb job,” Phillips said. “We feel terrible for him and the crew. He understands that Winter Memories represents five generations of horses for Darby Dan, and we cannot and will not risk their safety.
“We are terribly disappointed of course and, while I admit to being totally biased, I think she is the best in her division with the kind of athleticism that left you in near disbelief of her ability to overcome. She never finished off the board, winning eight of 12 starts. Winter Memories has been an incredible blessing for the family and Darby Dan,” he added.
Arrangements are being made to ship Winter Memories back to Darby Dan in Lexington where she will join her dam, multiple Grade 1 winner Memories of Silver, and her two half-sisters in the broodmare band.
No breeding plans have yet been formulated for Winter Memories. She retires with seven graded stakes victories and earnings of $1,268,100.
Winter Memories/NYRA photo