Echo Zulu, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2021 and multiple Grade 1 winner, made her 4-year-old return a winning one with a dazzling 5 3/4-length front-running score over Fire On Time in Monday’s 20th running of the Grade 3, $225,000 Winning Colors at Churchill Downs.
Florent Geroux rode Echo Zulu to victory for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and owners L and N Racing (Lee Levinson) and Winchell Thoroughbreds (Ron Winchell) while zipping six furlongs in 1:08.99.
Echo Zulu, who hadn’t raced since finishing second to Goodnight Olive in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland, broke fastest of all in the compact field of five fillies and mares but was aggressively pressed from the outside by Fire On Time for the first half-mile after swift early quarter-mile fractions of 21.75 and 44.62 seconds.
At the head of the stretch, Geroux urged Echo Zulu for more and she responded by quickly opening up an insurmountable lead on the way to her sixth career graded-stakes win.
ECHO ZULU is back for her 4-year-old campaign dominating The GIII Winning Colors!
Congrats to the connections on your graded stakes win! ?? pic.twitter.com/VTkTwBW6Dr— Churchill Downs (@ChurchillDowns) May 29, 2023
The victory was worth $139,000 and boosted Echo Zulu’s earnings to $2,255,375 from a record of 9: 7-1-0.
Echo Zulu was the odds-on 1-5 favorite and returned $2.62, $2.36 and $2.10. Fire On Time, ridden by Martin Garcia at odds of 7-1, paid $5.24 and $2.50. Last Leaf finished third under Corey Lanerie and returned $2.12, also at odds of 7-1.
Spirit Wind finished fourth and was followed by Marissa’s Lady. Scarlet Stripe was scratched.
Echo Zulu is a daughter of Gun Runner out of the Menifee mare Letgomyecho and was bred in Kentucky by Betz/J. Betz/Burns/CHNNHK/Magers/CoCo Quine/Ramsby.
The Winning Colors is named in honor of Eugene Klein’s Winning Colors, the most recent filly to have won the Kentucky Derby when she beat the boys in the 114th running of the run for the roses in 1988 for the Hall of Fame tandem of trainer D. Wayne Lukas and jockey Gary Stevens.