11/03/2010 10:24AM

Winter Memories looking for good trip in Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

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Barbara D. Livingston
Winter Memories, the expected favorite in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, with trainer Jimmy Toner at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – There are any number of compelling stories in this year’s Breeders’ Cup. One of them is trainer Jimmy Toner’s attempt to win the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf with Winter Memories, whose dam, Memories of Silver, competed in the Breeders’ Cup for Toner 14 years earlier.

Winter Memories will be favored to win the one-mile Juvenile Fillies Turf, having captured her only two previous starts in impressive fashion, including the Grade 3 Miss Grillo over a yielding course at Belmont Park on Oct. 3.

“It’s hard to explain the feeling of what it would be like to win the Breeders’ Cup with the daughter of a horse I ran in the Breeders’ Cup,” Toner said immediately after Tuesday’s post position draw. “I mean what’s the percentage of having the offspring of a Breeders’ Cup starter come back and win a Breeders’ Cup race. It’s an incredible feeling. You couldn’t write a story like that.”

Memories of Silver finished fifth, six lengths behind Da Hoss, while racing against males in the 1996 Mile at Woodbine. A two-time Grade 1 winner, Memories of Silver was owned and bred by Joan and John Phillips’s Phillips Racing Partnership, the same connections who own and bred her daughter Winter Memories and also had Soaring Softly, with whom Toner won the 1999 Filly and Mare Turf.

Winter Memories was well thought of even before launching her career at Saratoga on Labor Day, where she was bet down to 5-2 favoritism and then rallied from nearly a dozen lengths off the pace to register a 1 1/2-length victory under jockey Jose Lezcano. She used a similar strategy to post an even more impressive 5 1/4-length triumph when making her stakes debut in the Miss Grillo.

“She’s done everything right so far and is coming into the race as good as I can expect,” Toner said. “She got a good post, and all we need now is for her to get a good trip.”

Toner said Winter Memories is nothing like her mother.

“Her mother was the most competitive horse to be around,” Toner said. “This filly is very laid back, nothing bothers her. For a 2-year-old, she is very professional and very mature.”

One worry Toner won’t have coming into the race is the weather, since Winter Memories has already proven she can handle just about any type of turf course.

“It was hard and firm when she broke her maiden at Saratoga and yielding for the stakes at Belmont,” Toner said. “Hopefully, she’ll be able to settle back and make a big move around the turn. The bottom line is that it’s a 14-horse field and you have to get lucky and get the right trip.”

More Than Real may have the best chance of upsetting the favorite. Like Winter Memories, she has had only two starts and won her debut this summer over the Saratoga turf course. The daughter of More Than Ready, who is owned by restaurateur Bobby Flay, journeyed across the border to make her stakes debut in the Grade 3 Natalma at Woodbine, where she rallied to finish second as the 4-5 favorite behind the pacesetting New Normal.

“The filly is training really well,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “I think we had a real good effort from her in Canada and kind of got her covered up and taken back and taught her something. She developed a good late kick in that race without having much pace, so I’m thinking with hopefully an honest pace we should be okay. She acts like she’s doing as well as she can be.”

More Than Real is one of two fillies Pletcher will start in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, along with Allure d’Amour who enters the race off an easy maiden win over a yielding turf course at Belmont Park less than three weeks ago.

New Normal also will be in the lineup but may not have the luxury of setting an uncontested pace as she did in the Natalma. Fancy Point, a tiring third in the Miss Grillo, is expected to force the early running, along with Grade 3 stakes winner Wyomia.

The European contingent is led by trainer John Gosden’s listed stakes-placed Flood Plain and the Irish-bred Quiet Oasis, who finished fourth in a Group 3 event at The Curragh in her most recent start.

Kathmanblu is an improving filly who has captured two of her last three tries for trainer Ken McPeek, including Keeneland’s Jessamine by four widening lengths on Oct. 14.

– additional reporting by David Grening