Echo Zulu © Benoit Photo
L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ undefeated Echo Zulu ($3.60) spurted to the front right out of the gate and never was threatened in posting a 5 1/4-length victory over Juju’s Map to win the 38th running of the $2 million NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) for 2-year-olds Friday afternoon at Del Mar.
Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Joel Rosario, Echo Zulu covered the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:42.24.
For Asmussen, it is his second victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and eighth overall in the World Championships. For Rosario, it is his third victory in the race and 14th overall in the Breeders’ Cup.
In winning her third Grade 1 race and fourth overall, Echo Zulu has won by a combined margin of 22 lengths. She is a Kentucky-bred daughter of 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Gun Runner out of the Menifee mare Letgomyecho.
The victory was worth $1,040,000 and increased her earnings to $1,480,000.
Winning trainer Steve Asmussen (Echo Zulu) – “The level of proud is just unbelievable, with her being in the first crop of Gun Runner, what he’s done for us. A filly that came through mom and dad’s program in Laredo. She’s just brilliant. She’s faster than they are. It’s as simple as that. We’re just so fortunate to be around her.”
Winning owner Ron Winchell (Echo Zulu) – “It reminds me of Gun Runner. She got out there and took command. Then took it down a notch, relaxed and got it done in the stretch. It looked a lot like (Gun Runner’s) Pegasus: out, over, relax and then go.”
Winning jockey Joel Rosario (Echo Zulu) – “She is amazing. She is fast, has so much speed and it looks like she is not going that fast. Today she liked what she was doing up there (in the front) and when I asked her, she just took off. She’s just amazing.”
Trainer Brad Cox (second with Juju’s Map) – “She broke a little slow and (Florent Geroux)a put her in a good position. She raced a little wide, but she was no match for the winner. Second best today. Bottom line. No excuse.”
Trainer Cherie DeVaux (third with Tarabi) – “She ran great stretching out for the first time. The pace didn’t unfold the way it looked on paper, so Javier (Castellano) went to Plan B and she ran great, so we’re really happy with her performance. It’s awesome to come in and have her show up off a layoff and doing something she hasn’t done. Our team is great, so I’m very proud of everyone.”
Jockey Javier Castellano (third with Tarabi) – “We had a beautiful trip. I was very happy with her race. She broke good and was right behind the winner all the way. She was running very strong down the stretch and was fighting to be second. It’s no disrespect to run third to a champion.”
Trainer Bret Calhoun (fourth with Hidden Connection) – “I’m very disappointed. We had a little higher expectations today. She got a little unnerved in the warmup and stumbled away from there and lost a little position early. Reylu (Gutierrez) had to use her a little bit to get back into position and she didn’t have the answer today.”
FRACTIONS: :23.42 :47.01 1:10.96 1:35.64 1:42.24