There has been plenty to be thankful for at Aqueduct over the past month, with Mother Nature keeping the turf course in good shape and on Thursday a competitive field will line up on the grass in the $150,000 Winter Memories.
A field of 11 three-year-old fillies will line up in the Winter Memories, one of three stakes on the Thanksgiving Day card. The others are the $200,000 Fall Highweight Handicap (G3) and the $100,000 Central Park.
Post time for the opener on Thursday at the Big A is 11:50 ET.
The Christophe Clement trained Sorrentino Lemon is the 7-2 morning line favorite for the Winter Memories. The filly is perfect in two starts, an impressive winner over first level optional claimers at Belmont Park last out off the bench. Joel Rosario has the call on the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid.
“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.”
The race is named in honor of the James Toner trainee who earned $1.26 million and won the Grade 1 Diana and Garden City and was the runner up in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Trainer Chad Brown, who won the 2017 edition of the race with Rymska sends out maiden winner Shelter Island (6-1) with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez getting the return call
Tuned is a nicely bred filly sent out by the Graham Motion barn. She is out of the multiple Grade 1 winner Zagora, a six-time winner in turf routes. The filly makes her second start in the U.S. for Motion.
“She seemed to do things easily,” Motion said. “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.”
The Winter Memories is the eighth race on the nine-race card at Aqueduct on Thursday with a post time of 3:20 ET.
Let’s head out to Aqueduct for Thursday’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 8 The Winter Memories (Post time 3:20 ET)
#6 Shelter Island 6-1
#5 Tuned 4-1
#10 Atomic Blond 8-1
#3 Sorrentina 7-2
Our top pick comes in here off a sharp maiden win in her debut for the Chad Brown barn. The filly prompted the early pace and finished with good energy to win by 3/4 of an length going this distance at Belmont Park. The runner up and third place finisher both came back to graduate in their next starts. This gal has a nice pedigree, out of an Exit to Nowhere mare that has dropped five other foals to race including two turf winners and a couple of stakes winners, top earner Calling Out ($227,604). She was purchased by owner Peter Brant for $299,931 at the Arqana Deauville Yearling Sale in August 2017. Brown has won 13 stakes in New York for the owner this year. This filly looks as if she has plenty of upside.
The Graham Motion trainee was an impressive winner versus Alw-1 foes at Keeneland in her U.S. debut. The filly raced near the back of the pack and made a strong late rally to win by 2 1/4 lengths off a six-month break. She broke her maiden in her debut last fall at Deauville in a 15-horse field. This filly has a nice pedigree, by Toronado out of the multiple Grade 1 winner Zagora ($2.3 million). It was not a real strong group she beat last out although the fifth-place finisher Breakfast Pond did come back to beat $50,000 claimers in her next outing at Churchill Downs on Nov. 14. There is enough early pace signed up here and this gal should get a good set up again.
This filly pressed the early pace and drew clear late to break her maiden two back at Monmouth Park in her second career start. She then beat Alw-1 foes over good ground at Belmont Park in her latest effort. The runner up Kressie came back to beat Alw-1 foes in her next start on Oct. 26 and then missed beating Alw-2 foes by a neck in her most recent outing here on Nov. 15. The Pletcher trainee has moved forward in each outing and should get a good tracking trip sitting just off the pace. She is by Scat Daddy out of a Danehill Dancer mare that has dropped two other winners. Decent value if she goes off near her 8-1 morning line.
WIN: #6 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 3,5,6,10
TRI: 5,6 / 3,5,6,10 / 3,4,5,6,10