08/09/2012 4:10PM

Saratoga: Winter Memories retired with bone bruise

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Tom Keyser
Winter Memories retires with eight wins from 12 career starts, including her final race, the Grade 1 Diana on July 28.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Winter Memories, the popular multiple-Grade 1-winning turf mare, was retired Thursday due to bruising of the cannon bone in her right front ankle, trainer Jimmy Toner confirmed Thursday afternoon.

The injury is not deemed serious, but it would have sidelined her for the remainder of 2012 season and Winter Memories was to be retired at year’s end.

Following a scintillating victory in last month’s Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga, Toner had been planning to run Winter Memories in the Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont on Sept. 29 and then the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in November at Santa Anita.

“It’s unfortunate no question about that,” Toner said. “It is what it is; I have no control over it. There’s no surgery. She gets to go home in full.”

Toner said he noticed some filling Winter Memories’ right front ankle a few days ago and the filly had X-rays taken on Wednesday.

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“It showed erosion of the condylar bone,” Toner said.

In a press release, John Phillips, the manager of the Phillips Racing Partnership which owned and bred Winter Memories, called it “an uncommon degenerative bone disease.”

Winter Memories, a daughter of El Prado out of the Grade 1-winning mare Memories of Silver, won 8 of 12 career starts and earned $1,268,100.

“This was a total surprise to everyone concerned,” said Phillips, adding “the irony is I don’t think I have ever been around a more sound horse.”

Winter Memories won seven stakes, including the Grade 1 Diana in her most recent start. She also won the Grade 1 Garden City last year at Belmont, a race in which she looked hopelessly beaten before getting out in deep stretch and blowing past the rest of the field.

“It was a privilege and an honor to be involved with a horse of that nature,” Toner said. “She’s the best horse I ever trained. What made her stand apart from the rest of them was that ‘Wow!’ factor. She would make your hair go up and stand on end. She’ll be sorely missed.”

Winter Memories will retire to Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, where she will bred to a yet-to-be determined stallion in 2013.