OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Al Shaqab Racing’s English homebred Tuned was successful in her North American debut and will look to build on her winning ways when taking on fellow sophomore fillies in the fourth running of Thursday’s $100,000 Winter Memories – one of three stakes carded for Thanksgiving Day at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The 1 1/16-mile event over the outer turf course at the Big A pays tribute to the dual Grade 1-winning millionaire who captured the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont Park and the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga in her final start. Owned by Phillips Racing Partnership and trained by veteran conditioner Jimmy Toner, Winter Memories was an eight-time winner of a dozen career starts, seven of her victories taking place against graded stakes company.
A well-bred daughter of second crop sire and European champion Toronado, Tuned is out of 2012 Champion Turf Mare and two-time Grade 1 winner Zagora.
Trained by Graham Motion, Tuned was victorious against allowance company over the Keeneland lawn on October 10, going one mile where she was rank going into the first turn, but she sat well off the pace and made a six-wide move at the top of stretch, gliding home a 2 ¼-length winner and recording an 82 Beyer Speed Figure.
Prior to joining Motion’s barn, Tuned raced for Jean-Claude Rouget in France, where she broke her maiden at Deauville last October.
Tuned has recorded all of her serious preparation for her North American stakes debut at Motion’s base at Fair Hill in Elkton, Maryland.
“She spent some time at Fair Hill with Bruce Jackson before she came to me so when I picked her up she was already ready to breeze,” Motion said. “She seemed to do things easily. I even breezed her with [graded stakes winner] Varenka since they were on the same schedule and she ran [fifth] in the Queen Elizabeth that same week. I didn’t know a whole lot about her but when I saw her I was pleased with what I saw.”
Motion relishes the opportunity to seek a stakes win against 3-year-olds as the calendar year reaches its conclusion.
“This race seemed like a logical spot to run her in and there aren’t very many more chances to go up against straight 3-year-olds. The distance shouldn’t be an issue out of that mare,” Motion said.
Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano guided Tuned to her win last out and will return to the saddle from post 5.
Trainer Chad Brown has teamed up with owner Peter Brant to win 13 stakes events on the NYRA circuit this year, three of which were Grade 1, and will saddle French-bred Shelter Island for Brant in the Winter Memories.
The daughter of Le Havre broken her maiden in her career debut over the inner turf at Belmont Park defeating next-out winners Balon Rose and Kelleycanrun going 1 1/16 miles.
Bred by Mr. John Studd, Shelter Island is out of the Exit to Nowhere broodmare Exit the Straight and was acquired by Brant’s White Birch Farm for $299,931 at the Arqana Deauville Yearling Sale in August 2017.
Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez will pilot Shelter Island as she leaves from post 6.
Brown will also send out Nay Lady Nay for owners First Row Partners and Hidden Brook Farm as she seeks a second stakes victory.
Bred in Ireland by Stephen Sullivan, the full-sister to Group 2 winner Arizona came from off the pace to win the Parx Fall Oaks on October 7 last out in her fourth career start. Two starts prior, she broke her maiden over the turf at Monmouth Park, defeating next-out winners Atomic Blonde and Augusta Moon, the former of which is also entered in the Winter Memories.
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. will guide Nay Lady Nay from post 8.
Also sending out a pair of runners is trainer Christophe Clement, who will saddle stakes winner Feel Glorious and first-level allowance winner Sorrentina Lemon. Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Tango Uniform Racing, Feel Glorious will seek her first triumph since winning the Memories of Silver at the Big A in April. The British-bred daughter of Bated Breath arrives at the Winter Memories off a runner-up finish to New and Improved in the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont Park.
“Feel Glorious is nice and consistent,” Clement said. “She’s been going all year long, so this is her last start and she gets a break after that. She’s still training well.”
Jockey Junior Alvarado will guide Feel Glorious from post 4.
Unbeaten in two career starts, Sorrentina Lemon will make her stakes debut in the Winter Memories. Owned by Justice Stables, the bay daughter of Lemon Drop Kid defeated a field of winners, including Nay Lady Nay, on September 11 over the Belmont Park inner turf off of a nine-month layoff. She won her career debut over a flat mile over the turf at Tampa Bay Downs.
“Sorrentina Lemon had a very good race at Belmont. She had a little bit of a setback after and wasn’t training as well,” Clement said. “Now she’s coming back into form. She had a good work the other day so we’ll try her as well.”
Jockey Joel Rosario will seek his fourth stakes win of the meet as he rides from post 3.
Completing the field are Monaco Princess [post 1, rider TBA], Panther Hit [post 2, Manny Franco], Classic Fit [post 7, Dylan Davis], On the Town [post 9, Jose Lezcano], Atomic Blonde [post 10, Luis Saez], Tass [post 11, Kendrick Carmouche], Dyna Passer [post 12, Jose Ortiz], Bellera [post 13] and Team Win [post 14] were entered as also-eligibles.