05/05/2012 4:12PM

Belmont: Winter Memories gives Castro victory No. 2,000 in Beaugay

Adam Coglianese
Winter Memories wins the Beaugay in her first start since last fall.

Winter Memories and Belmont Park are still perfect together, after the flashy filly unleashed her patented stretch run in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Beaugay Stakes to give Eddie Castro his 2,000th career victory.

Making her first start since a fourth in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup last October, Winter Memories brushed with Check the Label while angling out and looking for a lane at the quarter pole. Once clear, she rolled past pacesetter Federation and Gitchee Goomie to score by a widening 2 1/4 lengths, running 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.87 on a yielding Widener turf course.

“I knew there was not too much speed, so I had to be right there,” said Castro. “With no speed – the turf is really soft, too – I had to wait, wait. At the top of the stretch, (Check the Label) pushed me in, but I pushed back a little bit. When she was clear and could run, she took off.”

Gitchee Goomie saved the place by a nose over Principal Role, with Federation another two lengths back in fourth. Check the Label and Hessonite completed the order of finish.

Trained by Jimmy Toner, Winter Memories ($3.90) is now a six-time graded stakes winner. Her 4-for-4 record at Belmont includes the Miss Grillo at 2 and the Sands Point and Garden City at 3. She has been favored for every one of her 10 starts, winning seven times.

Toner said she will run next in the Just a Game at Belmont on June 9.

“She put in a really nice race,” said Toner. “You could see they were all just getting ready to box her in there, and (Castro) was patient. When they tried to push him back in, he came back out.”