Echo Zulu looked every inch a superstar in the making with a sensational performance in the Netjets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar.
The unbeaten Steve Asmussen-trained youngster was taken straight to the front by Joel Rosario, and always looked to be moving well within herself.
Juju’s Map and Tarabi briefly loomed up in her slipstream – but as soon as Rosario let the daughter of Gun Runner stride on the race was quickly over as a contest.
The further she went, the better she looked and her rider was able to look behind him and see only daylight.
Asmussen said: “She’s a very special filly and this means so much to us. That she’s from the first crop of Gun Runner makes it surreal that we are back here four years on from his Classic success.
“She has just done everything right. She is a true champion.”
He added: “She’s done just like she did in the Spinaway and it will be geared towards the Kentucky Oaks next year. To compare her against horses of her age is hard to do because right now she’s an extremely rare commodity.
“When she broke her maiden and broke a 92 Beyer at Saratoga, she ticked all the boxes. We definitely appreciate the results and I would expect to take stock of future plans after she ships back to Kentucky on Wednesday.”
Jose Ortiz gave Pizza Bianca a sublime ride to win the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Three wide and last at one stage, Ortiz slalomed through the field and his mount flew once in the clear to swamp George Boughey’s long-time leader Cachet, who was third to Inspiral in the Fillies’ Mile on her previous start.
Owned and bred by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, the winner was giving trainer Christophe Clement his first ever Breeders’ Cup triumph.
Flay said: “I’m a chef and the dam’s name is White Hot so I moulded that into the naming of her. I’m the owner-breeder and my favourite thing to do is go in with the matings and breed.
“The dam never ran, but had a great pedigree and I kept her knowing that the blood would show up eventually.
“She was last round the far turn and I thought she wasn’t liking the firm ground, but all of a sudden it was insane. How many bobs and weaves did Jose take?”
He added: “Christophe is a very deserving trainer, he’s so great at what he does and pays attention to every detail. He eats and sleeps his horses, and for him to have a first Breeders’ Cup winner is so incredibly deserved.
“I’m a dreamer, and believe that when they are good these horses can take you all over the world, so maybe Ascot where I’ve had a second before.”
Clement said: “This is the first (victory) at the Breeders Cup for me and I feel elated. We have been waiting for this for so long.”
Cachet was fourth in the end, and Boughey said: “I thought for a moment we were going to win it. Luis (Saez) gave her a fine ride and I would like to thank all those who have travelled her and done such a great job. She’s bred to be better at three, which makes it all very exciting.
“It was a huge run, she’s proved she’s a global Group One filly. It’s great. It’s a huge honour to be be out here, we’re delighted.”
Ridden by Ryan Moore, Malavath was an excellent second for French trainer Francis-Henri Graffard, who said: “It’s amazing because Ryan said we needed to race on the inner and she missed the break, but during the race she just kept progressing as the gaps opened.
“She’s a very progressive filly and it’s a dream. She’s very talented and she stays a mile, but I think she’s a good ground filly.”
Hello You was another to perform well for David Loughnane, after the runner-up effort of Go Bears Go in the Juvenile Turf Sprint. Never far off the pace, she kept on well for fifth place.