February 26, 2024

Echo Zulu sizzles in Honorable Miss

Echo Zulu romped in the Honorable Miss (Photo by Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photos)

Echo Zulu continued to impress in the female sprint ranks, crushing rivals while making her second start back this season in Wednesday’s $200,000 Honorable Miss H. (G2) at Saratoga. A romping winner of the Winning Colors (G3) at Churchill Downs in late May, the four-year-old filly sped to the lead after the break and established opening splits of :22.02 and :44.45 on a short lead before flexing her muscles.

Drawing off in upper stretch, Echo Zulu continued to widen her advantage while being taken under wraps late by Florent Geroux, scoring by 7 1/4 lengths. The 2-5 favorite finished six furlongs in 1:08.76.

“I think it’s that simple: she’s extremely fast,” said Steve Asmussen, who trains the seven-time stakes winner for L&N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds. “She really is. She’s doing it quicker than they are, easier than they are in comparison to the other horses she has.”

“I had plenty left,” Geroux added. “To be honest, the final time was freaky fast.”

Named champion two-year-old filly after winning three consecutive Grade 1 stakes in a perfect 2021 campaign, Echo Zulu targeted longer distances early last year before cutting back to sprints in the fall. The bay daughter of Gun Runner concluded her sophomore season with a convincing win in the Dogwood (G3) and a clear second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).

Echo Zulu has proven more formidable at age four, and she’s taking aim upon the Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita in early November.

“Unbelievable amount of gratitude to have her in the barn training with her being a champion and the value she’s established,” Asmussen said. “As fast as she was when she was younger, the older the Gun Runners get, the faster they go, and I think (she’s) another example of it.”

Dr B rallied to be second, two lengths better than Frank’s Rockette, who chased Echo Zulu during the early stages. Maryquitecontrary rounded out the four runners.

Bred in Kentucky by Betz, Burns et al, Echo Zulu was purchased as a yearling for $300,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September sale. She’s the third graded winner from the Grade 2-winning Menifee mare Letgomyecho, who has also produced 2020 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) winner Echo Town and Grade 3 victor J Boys Echo.

Echo Zulu has now earned $2,365,375 from a 10-8-1-0 record, and the classy filly will make her final Breeders’ Cup prep in the $500,000 Ballerina (G1) at Saratoga on Aug. 26.

“I can’t wait for next month,” Geroux said.