Speaktomeofsummer early favorite in Winter Memories at Aqueduct
Waterford Stable's graded-stakes winner Speaktomeofsummer looks to be a horse for all seasons when she returns to the site of her first stakes win in the $100,000 Winter Memories Stakes for sophomore fillies going 1 1/16 miles on Aqueduct Racetrack's inner turf on Sunday, November 15.
The fifth running of the Winter Memories is one of two stakes on the 10-race card that will also include the $100,000 Key Cents for New York-bred juvenile fillies going six furlongs on the main track.
|Claude McGaughey III
||Faccio Io (GB)
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|| Rider TBA
Speaktomeofsummer, one of two entrants for trainer Christophe Clement, will be stretching back out in distance after running second by two lengths to Winter Memories-rival Tamahere in the one-mile Grade 2 Sands Point on October 10 at Belmont Park.
No stranger to routes, Speaktomeofsummer won the 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 Lake Placid over firm Saratoga Race Course turf on July 19 and will be competing at the Big A for the first time since winning the one-mile Chelsey Flower last November.
The daughter of Summer Front was purchased for $135,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November Sale and has already amassed a 3-1-0 record in seven starts with earnings of $235,000. Clement also trained Summer Front, who won three graded stakes in a racing career that spanned 2011-15.
"She's been training very well," Clement said. "Summer Front has done very well as a sire. He was a very honest and consistent type of horse. I'm delighted to see his success as stud."
Joel Rosario will be aboard for a fifth straight time, drawing the inside post.
Clement will also send out the English-bred Faccio Io for her North American debut. A winner of three of her five career starts, all in Italy, the Bated Breath filly earned runner-up honors last out in the Group 3 Premio Regina Elena Shadwell at Capannelle under conditioner Grizzetti Galoppo.
After arriving to the United States this summer, Faccio Io has been training in New York and registered her last three works at Belmont, including a five-furlong work 1:02.79 on Sunday over Big Sandy.
"She's been training very well. She's won three races. so we'll take a shot here in the stakes," Clement said.
Manny Franco will pick up the mount, drawing post 4.
Chad Brown, the leading trainer at the Belmont fall meet, will send out two contenders owned by Klaravich Stable in Selflessly and Duopoly.
Selflessly is already a graded stakes-winner, edging Sweet Melania by a nose in the Grade 3 Lake George over turf labeled good on August 28 at Saratoga before running firth in the Sands Point.
Selflessly's solid 2-year-old campaign saw her win the Grade 2 Miss Grillo before participating in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November 2019 at Santa Anita, running fifth. After a nearly seven-month respite, Selflessly returned to run fifth in the Grade 3 Wonder Again on June 20, Belmont Stakes Day, before earning a return trip to the winner's circle next out.
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will ride from post 2.
Duopoly, unraced as a juvenile, rebounded from a seventh-place debut effort to win back-to-back starts going 1 1/16 miles at Monmouth and Saratoga, respectively. Brown moved the Animal Kingdom filly up to stakes company for the first time last out, running fifth in the Grade 3 Valley View on October 16 at Keeneland. Making her first start at Aqueduct, she drew post 5 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard.
Tobey Morton's Crystalle returned off a more than 10-month layoff to run fourth in her 2020 debut on September 24 in a 1 1/16-mile turf contest at Belmont. A daughter of Palace Malice, Crystalle made her first appearance since running 11th in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, capping a 2-year-old year that saw her win in the P.G. Johnson at Saratoga and finish second in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo that September at Belmont.
Trainer John Kimmel said his charge needed the extra rest to help recover from an ankle injury and will now try to fulfill the promise she showed last year.
"There's no question that she showed very good form as a 2-year-old," Kimmel said. "We gave her the winter off and she shipped in to me in late February and after a couple of days showed some hind end lameness. We sent her for a scintigraphy and she had a little hot spot on one ankle. She didn't need surgery but we had to give her another three months."
Kimmel said the rest brought Crystalle back to full health and should improve with the experience of her last race.
"There's no problems with her now and I thought her first race back was OK given that it was a paceless race," said Kimmel. "She still ran the last quarter in 22 and change, she was just too far out of it to have an impact. I think she's a little tighter and sharper now and we'll see what happens."
Kimmel said he had options to go either a mile or even 1 3/8 miles on the grass but settled on the Winter Memories.
"It's a good distance for her," Kimmel said. "The mile is too short and running her that long off a layoff is probably not the best way to go."
Jose Ortiz will be in the irons from post 7.
Phipps Stable's Vigilantes Way ran a competitive second to next-out winner Evil Lyn in the Hilltop on Preakness Day, October 3, at Pimlico. Making just her second start on turf, Vigilantes Way, who has two of her three career wins on the main track, earned an 86 Beyer Speed Figure for her effort in the Hilltop, building on the 84 she earned for her turf debut win going 1 1/16 miles on July 28 at Colonial Downs.
Conditioned by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, the Medaglia d'Oro filly is 3-1-1 overall in six starts. She made her career debut at the Big A in December 2019, running third on the dirt.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez will ride from post 3.
Trainer Tony Dutrow said he is looking forward to seeing how High Opinion handles the increased distance after a maiden-breaking victory by a head in a seven-furlong sprint over firm Belmont turf on October 10.
The lightly raced daughter of Lemon Drop Kid made her first start in March, running fourth over the Aqueduct main track. Dutrow then moved High Opinion to the grass, where she ran 10th on June 13.
"I'm very happy with her and impressed with her and looking forward to seeing her stretch out to a mile and a sixteenth," Dutrow said. "Her first turf race, she came out with an excuse. She had a stress fracture, so we gave her plenty of time after and she got over that and when she broke her maiden, she was impressive.
"The added distance is what she really wants, she wants that more ground," he added. "She has been training great on the dirt as well, but we'll have to see what the ground s like on Sunday with the rain we're getting. I wouldn't have an opinion with what type of ground she will or won't like, but it'll be interesting to see what's it like and see which horses like it and which don't."
Eric Cancel, aboard for her maiden-breaking win, will return to ride from post 6.
Thankful, trained by Todd Pletcher, is entered for the main track only.
The Winter Memories is slated as Race 9 with a post time of 3:47 p.m. Eastern.
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