Echo Zulu Set to Return in Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks
On Saturday, the highly anticipated return of Echo Zulu will take place as she leads a group of six fillies into the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks. As a two-year-old, Echo Zulu was a standout performer, and now fans are eager to see her perform as a three-year-old. The wait has been four months since her last race, where she dominated the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar. With her impressive track record, Echo Zulu is the morning line favorite at odds of 3/5 for the Fair Grounds Oaks.
A Filly Worth Watching
From a betting perspective, some may choose to look for value elsewhere or explore exotic wagering options. Echo Zulu, being an undefeated Gun Runner filly, has consistently attracted bettors, but her odds have often been on the short side. For instance, her Breeders’ Cup victory had her listed at 4/5, while a month earlier, she triumphed in the Grade 1 Frizette at odds of 3/10. Throughout her four-race winning streak, Echo Zulu has proven her dominance, winning by a combined total of 22 lengths.
A Record of Consistent Success
Echo Zulu’s victories are not only impressive in terms of margin but also in her consistency. In all of her races, she has never finished worse than second at any call. Out of the 18 calls across her four races, Echo Zulu has led at 16 of them. Trainer Steve Asmussen expressed his excitement for her return, highlighting her exceptional training sessions and ability to handle various challenges. As the rail-drawn runner, getting a clean break will be vital, and jockey Joel Rosario will have ample time to position her well before the first turn.
Pursuing Kentucky Oaks Qualification Points
The Fair Grounds Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile race, is one of the important Kentucky Oaks prep races. It offers qualifying points on a scale of 100-40-20-10, determining the eligibility of three-year-old fillies for the Kentucky Oaks on May 6. Despite Echo Zulu’s absence from the race track since November, she currently sits in sixth place on the qualifying ladder with 30 points, courtesy of her previous victories in the Spinaway and Frizette Stakes.
Steve Asmussen’s High Hopes
Trainer Steve Asmussen, who has won the Fair Grounds Oaks three times, including victories with memorable fillies such as Lady Tak, Summerly, and Untapable, acknowledges the significance of the race. Asmussen mentioned that he will refrain from discussing future plans until Echo Zulu has successfully raced in the Oaks. However, he remains optimistic about her potential for the year. Asmussen’s achievements in the Oaks and the involvement of Winchell Thoroughbreds, co-owner of Echo Zulu, add to the excitement surrounding this filly.
Competitors Ready to Challenge Echo Zulu
Trainer Brad Cox, who has won the past two editions of the Fair Grounds Oaks with Bonny South and Travel Column, understands the challenge that Echo Zulu presents. His entry, Turnerloose, who upset the field at odds of 17/1 in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra last month, will attempt to match her front-running speed. Cox acknowledges that facing Echo Zulu will not be easy, but he emphasizes the advantage of facing her now rather than with an additional month of training under her belt.
Trainer Bret Calhoun brings in the talented filly Hidden Connection, one of Echo Zulu’s victims from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Calhoun recognizes that if you are going to face the champion, now is the opportune time to do so. While Echo Zulu is a formidable force, her extended break from racing may provide a slight advantage for her competitors in terms of recent racing fitness.
The return of Echo Zulu in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks is highly anticipated, as fans and bettors alike are eager to witness her three-year-old campaign. With her unbeaten record and impressive victories, she has become a favorite among racing enthusiasts. As Echo Zulu faces stiff competition from talented fillies, the race promises an exhilarating showdown. Regardless of the outcome, the Fair Grounds Oaks will serve as a significant stepping stone towards the Kentucky Oaks, shaping the future path for these promising three-year-old fillies.
1. How has Echo Zulu performed in her previous races?
Throughout her career, Echo Zulu has been undefeated, showcasing her dominance and exceptional talent. In her four races, she has won by a combined total of 22 lengths, never finishing worse than second at any call.
2. What is the significance of the Fair Grounds Oaks?
The Fair Grounds Oaks is a crucial race for three-year-old fillies, as it offers valuable qualifying points for the prestigious Kentucky Oaks. The points earned in this race determine a filly’s eligibility for the Kentucky Oaks, which is one of the most prestigious races in Thoroughbred racing.
3. How does Echo Zulu’s absence from racing impact her chances?
While Echo Zulu has not raced since November, her training sessions have been exceptional, and her trainer, Steve Asmussen, is confident in her abilities. The break from racing may provide her competitors with a slight advantage in terms of recent form, but Echo Zulu’s past performances indicate her potential to excel.
4. Who are some of the notable competitors in the Fair Grounds Oaks?
Trainer Brad Cox, who has experienced recent success in the race with Bonny South and Travel Column, fields Turnerloose as a worthy contender against Echo Zulu. Additionally, Bret Calhoun’s Hidden Connection, a talented filly who previously faced Echo Zulu, adds to the competition in the race.
5. What are the expectations for Echo Zulu’s future?
Trainer Steve Asmussen has high hopes for Echo Zulu’s future, as she has shown remarkable talent and consistency in her performances. With her impressive track record and exceptional training, many anticipate that Echo Zulu will continue to excel and compete at a high level in the coming races.