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The reasons I love seeing the name “El Prado [IRE]" in a horse’s pedigree, let me count the ways: Artie Schiller, Medaglia d’Oro, Paddy O’Prado, Winter Memories, Kitten’s Joy, Grassy, En Fuego… I’ll stop there with just a few of the first generation before I really get going!

El Prado

El Prado

The first one to bite the dust: Remsen winner O’Prado Again is off the Kentucky Derby trail after sustaining a condylar fracture in his right foreleg. Trained by Dale Romans, the son of the great., deceased sire El Prado will likely recover to have a promising career post-Triple Crown.

The first one to bite the dust: Remsen winner O’Prado Again is off the Kentucky Derby trail after sustaining a condylar fracture in his right foreleg. Trained by Dale Romans, the son of the great., deceased sire El Prado will likely recover to have a promising career post-Triple Crown.

How Good is Great? Winter Memories Shows You

And I thought this wasn’t going to be a great weekend of racing…

Despite being sent off as the favorite in a field of 8 great turf fillies, Winter Memories earned a lot of skepticism from the crowds. The hot streak of 4 that carried Hungry Island to a win over Memories in the Lake Placid (II), the uprising spring star Kathmanblu, and Euro shipper Theyskens’ Theory were all on board to tackle the gray filly. But clearly, she was to have none of it.

In a thrilling show of resolve and courage, Winter Memories flung herself Zenyatta-style from around a wall of five horses to first position to win her first, and very well-deserved, grade I win in the Garden City (I) today at Belmont. The daughter of El Prado received no breaks from her classy competition, as she was caught in the back of the pack for most of her trip only to encounter no shortcuts as she circled wide coming for home in a desperate late charge.

BC Juvenile Fillies Turf winner More Than Real looked to be back on her A-game, setting up smooth fractions as the early leader and was followed by Arch Support and a very eager Kathmanblu for a very easy :26 and change for the first quarter. Hungry Island and Winter Memories, both key favorites, were back for the early goings. Around the clubhouse turn, Winter Memories continued to fall back as Theyskens’ Theory ran into clear running room. Turning for home, it turned into a tussle of turf, every filly for herself in a wide open race. Hungry Island looked to block Winter Memories in from the outside, but Javier Castellano managed to reel back in, losing precious ground, and go around Hungry Island, bounding powerfully to pass Theyskens’ Theory for the win. 

Should there be a queen of the turf, Winter Memories surely showed she’s worthy of such a crown. I am unabashedly, now more than ever, one of her diehard fans.

Out of all the freshman sires represented at Keeneland September, I have to say Big Brown's first crop is probably my favorite. Here's one of his sons from Three Chimneys out of My Amandari, by the great gray sire El Prado. I’ll be waiting to see how much Hip #2363 goes for!

Out of all the freshman sires represented at Keeneland September, I have to say Big Brown's first crop is probably my favorite. Here's one of his sons from Three Chimneys out of My Amandari, by the great gray sire El Prado. I’ll be waiting to see how much Hip #2363 goes for!

A Flash of Silver, A Heart of Gold: Winter Memories

Before the gates crashed open in the Lake George Stakes (II), Winter Memories had everything in her favor. Shortly after the shrill bell sounded, everything seemed to go wrong.

Doddering over the historic Saratoga turf, the silver filly seemed to be the next champion poised for defeat as she languished coming into contention with the rest of the field. With arch rival More Than Real gunning some 5 lengths ahead of her in the early stages, it seemed the filly that handed her her first defeat in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last year would triumph again.

Jockey Jose Lezcano was not finished though. Guiding the streamlined daughter of El Prado to the rear of the pack, he put her on target to keep relaxed throughout the majority of the race while she gathered her bearings. Ahead, Sunlight Sonata was leading at a moderate pace without much concern for the thundering noises erupting from behind her flanks. 

After tracking More Than Real most of the race, the field began circling around the turn. Normally an ambitious, tug-o’-war sort of racehorse, Winter Memories cruised easily on autopilot, using her reaching strides to glide across the grass.

Turning for home, Winter Memories began to reel ‘em in. At the same time, More Than Real shifted further outside to clear some ground in front of the slowing Little Miss Holly ahead of them. Jose sawed the reins back as his filly’s body strafed sharply to the right— a close call that slaughtered their momentum and interrupted their rhythmic hoofbeats across the turf. Meanwhile, More Than Real was getting away and the wire was rushing hungrily at them with every flying stride.

The field scattered and Bellamy Star made her late run, charging beyond Sunlight Sonata as More Than Real and Winter Memories flew into action. Swerving around the pack of fillies, Jose Lezcano nudged the silver filly once. He might as well have nudged the joystick of a fighter jet; the filly took off like the others were standing still, closing so dramatically in the final sixteenth that Lezcano was standing up in the irons by the time they hit the wire. There was no need for the whip either— they won in serendipitous fashion by 5 lengths over More Than Real. Payback’s a bitch.

Will traffic problems impede Winter Memories in the next Breeders’ Cup she attacks? By the looks of it, probably about as much trouble as a Ferrari gets passing Volvos on the Interstate.

Replay: 

El Prado

El Prado

Obsessively providing a comprehensive and personal glance at the sport of kings through original photography, handicapping analysis, editorials, and much more.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.


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