Echo Zulu begins 4-year-old season in style

Churchill Downs stakes recap by track’s publicity department (Gwen Davis/Davis Innovation photos):

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Monday, May 29, 2023) – Echo Zulu , the champion 2-year-old filly of 2021 and multiple Grade I winner, made her 4-year-old return a winning one with a dazzling 5 ¾-length front-running score over Fire On Time in Monday’s 20th running of the $225,000 Winning Colors (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.

          Florent Geroux rode Echo Zulu to victory for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and owners L and N Racing LLC (Lee Levinson) and Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (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 (GI) 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.

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.

          The victory was worth $139,000 and boosted Echo Zulu’s earnings to $2,255,375 from a record of 7-1-0 in nine starts.

          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 LadyScarlet 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

          Racing returns Thursday at Churchill Downs for the eight-race Twilight Thursday program. First post is 5 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit


Florent Geroux (jockey, Echo Zulu, winner) – “I’m very grateful for the owners of this very talented filly (L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds) and (trainer) Steve Asmussen. She broke really well today and took herself right to the front. We had some pressure on her outside but she was traveling very comfortably the entire race.”

Steve Asmussen (trainer, Echo Zulu, winner) – “This was a great start to her year. She’s just a wonderful filly. I’m very thankful for the owners, Lee Levinson of L and N Racing and Ron Winchell of Winchell Thoroughbreds. This race came up a little bit light on nominations and we decided to start her year here. She’s run so well at Saratoga in the past and we expect to go back there with her.”

Dale Romans (trainer, Fire On Time, runner-up) – “She tracked Echo Zulu up the backside and around the turn. They were going pretty fast, but we were just second best today to a very nice filly.”

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.