06/06/2016 11:56AM

It's all in the Darby Dan family for Toner

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Recepta will try to capture her first Grade 1 win in Saturday's Just a Game Stakes.

Memories of his outstanding turf mare Wonder Again are everywhere for trainer Jimmy Toner at Belmont Park this week.

Not only did Toner saddle Time and Motion to win Wonder Again’s namesake stakes race on Sunday, he will saddle Recepta, from the same family that produced Wonder Again, in the Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes on the Belmont undercard on Saturday. Time and Motion and Recepta are both homebreds for the Phillips Racing of Darby Dan Farm owner John Phillips, who also owns Wonder Again.

“It’s especially gratifying,” Toner said. “I was just looking at the pictures of Wonder Again in the office [Sunday] morning and thinking about it. My thought was if it was pouring rain, it would be a typical Wonder Again day. Fortunately, the rain held off, but she used to love the rain and soft ground. It’s exciting to win a race named for a horse you’ve had.”

Time and Motion, a daughter of leading sire Tapit, scored her third consecutive victory in the Wonder Again. She also won this year’s Memories of Silver Stakes at Aqueduct – a race named for another Phillips Racing standout trained by Toner.

Grade 3 winner Recepta is looking for her first Grade 1 score in the Just a Game. She comes in off a troubled trip while finishing third in the Grade 3 Beaugay Stakes last month.

“She got roughed up a little at the start,” Toner said. “Fortunately, there’s no cuts or bruises, but she was a little body sore. She’s okay now, but it could have been a lot worse. It’s like driving a car and putting the brakes on.”

Wonder Again and Recepta share a common female ancestor in the Darby Dan mare Soaring, the fourth dam of both, via two of her daughters. Other branches of the same family are responsible for Canadian Horse of the Year Glorious Song, the dam of champion Singspiel and stakes winner Rahy, both successful sires; champion turf mare and stakes producer Soaring Softly; champion Devil’s Bag and his half-brother, the prominent sire Saint Ballado; Japanese champion Grass Wonder; Canadian champion Wavering Girl; and Grade 1 winners Mehmet, Plenty of Grace, Noble’s Promise, and Dawn’s Curtsey.

Wonder Again was a prominent graded stakes competitor in all four seasons of her career, winning the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders’ Cup as a 3-year-old and the Grade 1 Diana Handicap as a 5-year-old. In all, she won or placed in 11 graded stakes, including a third in the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, earning more than $1.4 million. As a broodmare, Wonder Again has produced two winners from three starters, led by Japanese stakes winner Red Raven.