10/09/2011 12:27PM

Belmont: Winter Memories tunes up for QE II Challenge Cup

Barbara D. Livingston
Winter Memories, shown working out in August at Saratoga, breezed Sunday at Belmont Park and will ship to Keeneland for Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.

ELMONT, N.Y. - On a pristine October morning, that felt more like spring than fall, Winter Memories worked five furlongs in 1:01.45 over Belmont Park’s inner turf course Sunday in preparation for next Saturday’s Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland.

 The work was done around a triple set of traffic cones, which kept all turf workers well off the part of the grass course utilized for racing. Under jockey Javier Castellano, Winter Memories went her first three furlongs in 38.44 seconds and her last quarter in 23.01 over firm ground. She galloped out extremely strong, pulling up a mile 1:39.96.

 “She still did it within herself, comfortable,’’ trainer Jimmy Toner said. “The thing with the [cones] is you got to feel comfortable around that turn and you got to wait until you straighten away and he just clucked to her a little bit and she grabbed it and then he took a hold of her again. We didn’t let her just take off.’’

 Winter Memories is 4 for 5 this year with victories in the Grade 3 Appalachian at Keeneland, the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont, the Grade 2 Lake Placid at Saratoga and the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont.

“So far, she’s come out of her races well,’’ Toner said. “She’s as fresh as she was in the spring. Really happy. We’re just trying to keep her fresh and happy.’’

 Winter Memories was scheduled to ship to Kentucky on Monday along with stablemate Bold Hawk, who worked five furlongs over the turf in 1:02.65 in preparation for the Grade 3, $100,000 Sycamore Stakes on Oct. 20.