March 25, 2023

Echo Town bursts clear in H. Allen Jerkens

Echo Town
Echo Town wins the 2020 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (NYRA/Coglianese Photo)

The talented Echo Town picked the perfect moment to deliver a career-best performance and secure his first stakes win. Overlooked at odds of 7-1 in Saturday’s H. Allen Jerkens (G1) at Saratoga, Echo Town produced a smart rally from midpack to dominate the prestigious 7-furlong fixture in convincing fashion.

Having sandwiched runner-up efforts in the Woody Stephens (G1) and Bachelor S. around a hard-fought allowance victory, Echo Town entered the Jerkens with a promising yet frustrating resume. The Steve Asmussen-trained 3-year-old was compromised by a slow pace in the Woody Stephens, yet rallied resiliently along the rail to finish second behind front-running winner No Parole.

The latter was favored at 23-10 to add the Jerkens to his glowing resume, and he appeared to be well on his way after sprinting to the front through splits of :22.67 and :45.31. But No Parole’s pursuers turned up the heat rounding the far turn, with Gotham (G3) winner Mischevious Alex and Belmont Stakes (G1) participant Tap It to Win drawing up alongside at the top of the stretch.

Suddenly, on the far outside, Echo Town burst into the picture. The son of Speightstown had threaded his way between rivals around the turn, and with a furlong remaining he roared into contention under jockey Ricardo Santana. Gobbling up ground like he’d just joined the race, Echo Town drew clear strongly down the lane to score by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:22.53.

“He broke really sharp today and when the dirt started hitting him in the face, he was jumping a little bit but he was really comfortable,” Santana told the New York Racing Association. “I took him outside and he gave me a nice kick at the end. He was traveling really well. I knew there was plenty of speed today and I just wanted to sit behind the speed. I’m really happy with the horse.”

Tap It to Win gamely held off last year’s Hopeful (G1) runner-up Shoplifted for the runner-up spot, while Captain Bombastic rallied mildly to complete the superfecta. Sonneman, Mischevious Alex, Eight Rings, Hopeful Treasure, No Parole, Three Technique, and Liam’s Pride trailed the field.

Produced by the Menifee mare Letgomyecho, Echo Town is a half-brother to 2017 Gotham (G3) winner and Kentucky Derby (G1) starter J Boys Echo. As a Keeneland September yearling, the bay colt was purchased from the consignment of Betz Thoroughbreds, agent, for $100,000 by L and N Racing, an acquisition that’s looking increasingly like a bargain. With four wins from seven starts, Echo Town has accumulated $375,320 while emerging as one of the best sophomore sprinters in training.

“It was great to see him put it all together when it matters so much on this stage. He ran solidly here. He ran really well into the Woody Stephens, but I thought the timing of this race was better,” said Asmussen. “He’s run hard all year. He’s run consistently all year. Now, he will be noticed.”