Kentucky-bred Echo Zulu followed an impressive debut victory in July with a sparkling four-length romp in the $300,000 Spinaway Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on Sept. 4.
Off a step slow before surging to the front, Echo Zulu led the nine-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in :22.07 and a half in :44.73 over a track labeled as good. Entering the stretch, jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. kept Echo Zulu along the inside and she powered home a convincing winner, stopping the clock in 1:22.51.
Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and L and N Racing, Echo Zulu, who became the first Grade 1 winner for her freshman sire, Gun Runner, was sent off as the 3-5 favorite. The win boosted her career earnings to $220,000.
“It was a huge jump,” said trainer Steve Asmussen. “We prepared her like a first-time starter at Saratoga to run. She responded and ran well and that was a long time ago going five and a half against different horses. To jump from maidens to a Grade 1 off one run in a race with everything going your way is not easy. It takes a special horse to do it and maybe that’s what she is.
“She is all class, and training her, she’ll go as easy as you want her to go and picks it up when asked,” he added. “She’s not been in a hurry for a filly that’s as fast as she is.”
Becoming the first Grade 1 winner for her sire also carries special meaning to Asmussen, who also trained Gun Runner, the 2017 Horse of the Year.
“I can’t measure how much I wanted to have Gun Runner’s first Grade 1 winner,” Asmussen shared. “Everything he’s done for the barn, he’s obviously a tremendous sire and somebody had to be first. I’m glad it was us.”
Bred in Kentucky by J. Betz, Betz/Burns/CHNNHK/Magers/CoCo Equine/Ramsby, Echo Zulu is produced from the Menifee mare Letgomyecho.