04/26/2013 6:12PM

Thanks for the Winter Memories

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Above:  Winter Memories, the day before she left Saratoga for her retirement at Darby Dan Farm.

MEMORIES OF SILVER - 4/24/08 gr./r. m. by El Prado - Memories of Silver, by Silver Hawk

Bred and raced by Phillips Racing Partnership, trainer Jimmy Toner

12 starts, 8 wins, 2 seconds, earnings of $1,268,100.

It's been more than 8 months since the retirement of one of racing's most beautiful and exciting race mares, Winter Memories.  Since then, I've tried to find time to write an in-depth blog about her that includes the history of Darby Dan Farm and Phillips Racing Partnership.  I wanted to write about my first visit to Darby Dan, as a teenager, to see Little Current - and how, all these years later, no farm stirs my heart more.  I planned to write a windy record of their foundation broodmares Golden Trail and Soaring, to post photos of the farm and some of their many remarkable horses.  Well, you know how that goes.

And so, as the 50th anniversary of Darby Dan Farm's Chateaugay's Kentucky Derby win approaches, here's a simple photo blog of the grand grey girl - with a few images of her multiple Grade I-winning mother, Memories of Silver, tossed in.  If you don't like photos, this isn't the blog for you.

Thanks so much, Winter Memories, for the, well, memories!  Here's wishing for you a long and comfortable life at your beautiful Darby Dan home.

Above:  Among Winter Memories' stakes wins were the G1 Diana and Garden City, and five other graded stakes races.  She could have some very dramatic races, as evidenced by two Youtube links included at the end of this blog.

Above:  Memories of Silver, Winter Memories' dam, was one of the top turf performers of her generation.  The Galbreath/Phillips Racing Partnership homebred, descended from Darby Dan's foundation mare Soaring, won 9 races - including the G1 Beverly D. and Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.

Above:  John Phillips with Memories of Silver in 2003.  Memories of Silver was 10 at the time.  She still lives at the farm.

Above:  One of many truly remarkable accomplishments in Darby Day's history is having bred and raced four winners of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.  In 2003, they were posed together.  From left to right:  Plenty of Grace (with then-fellow-managing partner T. Wayne Sweezey) , Tribulation (with then-broodmare manager Jennifer Shupe), Memories of Silver (John Phillips) and Love You by Heart (Carol Schmelz, farm operations).   

Above and below:  Memories of Silver last autumn, at age 19.  She still looks grand!

Above:  After our shoot, Memories of Silver could not wait to get dirty and get back to her friends - in that order.

Above and below:  A variety pack of the long-faced, elegant, powerful, exciting Winter Memories.  As you can see, she is not difficult to photograph!

Above:  Winter Memories with her loving and attentive trainer Jimmy Toner, who has now trained generations of Darby Dan/Galbreath/Phillips' horses.

Above:  In August 2012, soon before she left for Darby Dan, with Toner assistant Dana Antonczak.

Above:  Winter Memories' best friends at the track, the day before she left Saratoga.  From left:Junior Genaro, Jimmy Toner, Luis Enrique, Dana Antonczak.

Above:  My favorite portrait of Winter Memories with Jimmy.  

Above and below:  The stunningly beautiful WINTER MEMORIES in October 2012, settled back in at her Darby Dan home. 

A heartfelt thank you to Darby Dan Farm - and a very special thank you to John Phillips, Tracie Willis, Carol Schmelz and Jimmy Toner.  Here's hoping Darby Dan Farm and Phillips Racing Partnership continue to have great successes on the worldwide stage with their homebreds.

Among Winter Memories' many dramatic races was this 2011 Garden City (G1).  She sure made a lot of us nervous this day!, but, dang, once she broke free, there was no whip necessary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb77As4QZ1E

Another heart-pounding, dominant win in the 2011 Lake George.  After getting in all sorts of trouble, she still won "geared down":  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poZrlkBK0hs

A less troubled victory in the 2011 Sands Point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzvX-7mxUh0