Winchell Thoroughbreds and L and N Racing's Echo Zulu (Gun Runner), tabbed a 'TDN Rising Star' following her 5 1/2-length debut victory at Saratoga July 15, will attempt to add to her freshman sire's growing list of graded stakes winners when she goes postward in the GI Spinaway S. at Saratoga Sunday. Her first-out effort earned her a 92 Beyer Speed Figure–the highest recorded figure for a 2-year-old filly this year.
“The idea was always that she could be a Saratoga 2-year-old,” said Winchell Thoroughbreds' racing and bloodstock advisor David Fiske. “She showed some early speed, but for her to win the way she did and to get the number she got, I don't think anyone was expecting that.”
Echo Zulu, a half-sister to Grade I winner Echo Town (Speightstown) and a $300,000 KEESEP yearling purchase, will add a furlong and a half to that effort in the seven-furlong Spinaway and she could become fast-starting Gun Runner's first Grade I winner. The stallion was represented earlier in the meet by GII Adirondack S. winner Wicked Halo and by GII Saratoga Special runner-up Gunite. Across the country, his Pappacap won the GII Best Pal S. at Del Mar.
“She came out of Steve [Asmussen]'s parents' operation in Laredo pretty highly touted,” Fiske said. “We have some pretty big expectations for her. We were grateful that [co-owner Mike] Levinson let us partner up with her. We bought a few other yearlings last year and since he had Echo Town, he asked about her. We looked at her and got her as well.”
Jim Bakke's Girl with a Dream (Practical Joke) is another juvenile by a freshman sire coming into the Spinaway off an impressive debut victory. The Brad Cox trainee pulled away to a 6 3/4-length score doing five furlongs at Ellis Park July 24.
Pretty Birdie (Bird Song) carried the colors of the late Marylou Whitney, for years synonymous with racing in Saratoga, to victory in an emotional opening-day GIII Schuylerville S. July 15. A debut winner at Churchill June 18, the gray filly will look to double up on her Saratoga graded haul Sunday for trainer Norm Casse.
Gold Square's Sue Ellen Mishkin (Mohaymen) jumps to the graded ranks after romping to a 7 1/4-length debut score going six furlongs versus state-bred foes in her Aug. 13 unveiling.