The basic theory of breeding is that ability and characteristics are passed on from one generation to the next. On this basis, it is not surprising that stallions are often able to sire winners of races which they themselves have won. A classic example is provided by the Irish Derby, the last six winners of which have all been sons of stallions who had themselves won the race.
It is obviously less common for a top filly to breed the winner of a big race which she herself had won: while a Derby-winning stallion might sire, say, 70 colts each year who might conceivably go on to win the Derby, an Oaks winner might only breed one filly every two or more years. It is, therefore, pleasing when a big race is won by a filly (or colt) whose mother had previously won the race. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victories of Sea The Stars and Carnegie spring immediately to mind in this respect, their dams (Urban Sea and Detroit) being past winners of that great race.
American bloodstock enthusiasts were treated to a similar instance this weekend, courtesy of the Grade 1 Diana Stakes victory of Winter Memories. This daughter of El Prado is out of the Silver Hawk mare Memories of Silver, who had won this race at Saratoga in 1998, when it was known as the Diana Handicap.
It is fitting that Memories Of Silver has become such a good broodmare because she was a thoroughly admirable racemare. Trained by James Toner, who now trains Winter Memories, she scored arguably her greatest triumph in the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes at Arlington Park in 1997, when her victims included the Dermot Weld-trained Dance Design. Winter Memories has proved to be the best of her offspring so far, but she has also been represented by three individual Listed winners in addition to her star daughter, who has now scored six times at graded stakes level.
Memories Of Silver is thus doing her bit to enhance further the reputation of Silver Hawk as a broodmare sire, whose status as such is at an all-time high, thanks primarily to the breeding record of his daughter Magnificient Style, whose current runners include this season’s Group 1-winning siblings Nathaniel and Great Heavens.