Generally speaking, it isn't wise to turn down an offer of US$900,000 for a yearling Thoroughbred---a perishable commodity if there ever was one. Even without the risk of loss through a misstep or illness, most expensive yearlings never come close to justifying their purchase prices. Nonetheless, the Phillips Racing Partnership elected to retain Winter Sunset when that was the highest bid that could be elicited for her at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale. (They later sold an interest in the filly to Bob Cummings' and Annette Bacola's Coffeepot Stables).
Winter Sunset did not get to the races until November 29 of last year, but her maiden race was everything that her connections could have hoped for as she went gate-to-wire in dominating style. Her race was good enough to get her a "Rising Star" tag from Thoroughbred Daily News, and she was equally impressive in the Shantel Lanerie if not more so. Not only did she win by daylight over Grade III winner Elsa, but she was under a hand ride at the finish in spite of going six-wide around the far turn. At this point, her potential on turf appears unlimited, making her retention seem like a much smarter decision.
A daughter of three-time American champion sire Tapit, Winter Sunset is the second foal and first winner produced by Winter Memories. "Like mother, like daughter" would certainly be a good thing as far as Winter Sunset's connections are concerned, for Winter Memories won seven graded turf stakes during her racing career. Her signature wins were in the 2011 Garden City Stakes (USA-IT) and the 2012 Diana Stakes (USA-IT), and she retired to the paddocks having won eight of her 12 starts for earnings of US$1,268,100. Winter Memories' first foal, the 2014 Street Cry colt Make Memories, failed to win, but the mare has since produced full siblings to Winter Sunset in 2017 and 2018. She was last bred to Union Rags.
An El Prado half sibling to three other stakes winners produced from multiple Grade I winner Memories of Silver (by Silver Hawk), Winter Memories is the fifth daughter of Memories of Silver to come up with a stakes winner. She joins La Cloche (by Ghostzapper), dam of Bellavais; Bridal Memories (by Unbridled), dam of Penn Mile (USA-IIT) winner Hawkish; Star Silver (by Aldebaran), dam of 2016 Colleen Stakes winner Red Lodge; and Recollect (by El Prado), dam of Grade II-placed stakes winner Elusive Collection. In addition, yet another daughter, Memories for Us, is the second dam of French listed stakes winner Spinning Memories. Given the quality of stallions that these mares have been seeing plus their own genetic potential, the prospects look bright for this branch of Golden Trail's family to be producing many more "memories" for years to come.