ELMONT, N.Y. – Winchell Thoroughbreds and L and N Racing’s Echo Zulu will pursue a validation of dominance amongst the juvenile filly division on the East Coast when attempting a second Grade 1 victory in Sunday’s 72nd running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette going a one-turn mile at Belmont Park.
The Frizette is a “Win And You’re In” qualifying event offering an automatic entry into the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 5 at Del Mar.
Unbeaten in both lifetime starts, Echo Zulu, a daughter of leading first-crop sire Gun Runner, enters the Frizette off a wire-to-wire four-length win in the Grade 1 Spinaway going seven furlongs on September 5 at Saratoga.
Echo Zulu registered a 92 Beyer Speed Figure on debut – one of the top-three highest recorded by a 2-year-old this year – when breaking her maiden going 5 ½ furlongs in July at Saratoga. Echo Zulu showed early speed in her maiden score and responded well when asked by Ricardo Santana, Jr., powering home to a 5 ½-length score.
A victory would provide Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen with a fourth Frizette triumph, following scores with My Miss Aurelia , Nickname  and Wicked Whisper .
Echo Zulu was acquired for $300,000 from the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where she was consigned by Betz Thoroughbreds. She is out of the Menifee mare Letgomyecho, who also produced Grade 1-winner Echo Town and graded stakes winner J Boys Echo.
Like many of Asmussen’s young horses, Echo Zulu was sent to El Primero Training Center in Laredo, Texas – owned by Asmussen’s parents Keith and Marilyn Asmussen – prior to her racing career.
David Fiske, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ racing and bloodstock advisor, noted the strong gate ability many horses that develop at El Primero acquire.
“The horses that come out of Laredo tend to be pretty fast from the gate. We call it the Laredo leap,” Fiske said. “They’ll come out and be a length or two in front of the rest. It’s just a testament to what they do at Laredo. Steve’s dad does a great job getting them to leave the gate. A lot of the Gun Runners get out of the gate well, but they aren’t rocket ships out of there. But once they get going, they go for a long time.”
Fiske said Echo Zulu flaunted early ability, but her speed figures surprised her connections.
“We knew she was fast. I don’t know that we thought she was 92 Beyer fast,” Fiske said. “This year, there have only been a couple of other 2-year-olds with bigger figures than her. She always had trained well, but fast in the morning is different than fast against competition.”
With a likely start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies to follow the Frizette, Fiske expressed no concern with Echo Zulu stretching out to two turns in the future.
“There’s a lot of speed at the bottom side of her pedigree with Echo Town,” Fiske said. “Hopefully there’s some genetic influence that would enable her to go two turns.”
Fiske said Echo Zulu is likely to be on the lead Sunday when exiting post 6 under Santana, Jr.
“Someone’s going to have to catch her,” Fiske said. “Change the track surface from Saratoga to Belmont and add another furlong, and who knows. But so far, she gives every indication that the mile shouldn’t be a problem for her. As fast as she is, she should be able to hold the turns well. It should be easier for her.”
Trainer Chad Brown will saddle Klaravich Stables’ Gerrymander, who will attempt to give leading sire Into Mischief his second straight offspring to win the Frizette after last year’s winner Dayoutoftheoffice.
Following a distant second as the favorite to Velvet Sister on debut going 5 ½ furlongs on June 10 at Belmont Park, Gerrymander emerged off a 2 ½ month layoff to dazzle at 10-1 odds on August 29 at Saratoga going six furlongs. She broke sharply from the gate, dropped back a close fourth, and made a sweeping four-wide move approaching upper stretch to take the lead past the eighth pole and fended off late rallies from two foes to win by a half-length.
“I’ve always thought a lot of her. She was bet first out, and I had to totally restart with her and then she showed us what we thought of her in that last race at Saratoga,” said Brown, who teamed up with Klaravich to capture the 2017 Frizette with Separationofpowers. “That’s what we thought very early on in the year with her and then she’s come back and trained well. We brought her down here and the filly worked fabulous on the main track, so we’ll give her a shot to step up. She’s going to like a mile, we’ll see if she likes the competition. That’s the difference.”
Brown said Gerrymander has trained forwardly since her maiden score. Following a bullet half-mile in 48.31 seconds over Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track on September 19, she travelled the same distance Sunday on the Belmont main track in 48.77 seconds.
“I like the way the horse is training but she’s going to have to really step up,” Brown said. “This is a really strong race.”
Joel Rosario will pilot Gerrymander from post 8.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey will seek a sixth Frizette triumph when he saddles Magic Cap Stables’ Frosty Brew.
The dark bay or brown daughter of second crop sire Frosted was a 1 ¾-length winner on debut going six furlongs on September 8 at Laurel Park.
“She ran a good race down there,” said McGaughey, whose Frizette coups include subsequent champions Personal Ensign , Heavenly Prize  and Storm Flag Flying . “She laid a little bit off of it and picked it up.”
McGaughey said Frosty Brew should have no issue stretching out to a mile.
“That ain’t going to hurt her,” McGaughey said. “She’ll lay where she needs to lay and hopefully, she’ll finish. It’s a tough spot for her.”
Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano will ride from the inside post.
The Elkstone Group’s Jester Calls Nojoy is one of two entrants from the barn of Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, who has won the Frizette three times.
The bay daughter of Maclean’s Music was an impressive second-out graduate travelling seven furlongs over a good main track at Saratoga, leading at every point of call to draw away by 10 lengths.
Luis Saez was aboard for the outstanding triumph and will ride once more from post 7.
My Racehorse Stable and Spendthrift Farm’s A Mo Reay will try to break her maiden at Grade 1 level for Pletcher. The daughter of Uncle Mo was a late-closing third last out, making up 11 lengths from ninth to round out the trifecta, just a half-length to fellow Frizette aspirant Gerrymander.
A Mo Reay will leave from post 2 under Jose Lezcano.
Rounding out the field are LLP Performance Horse’s Jumeirah [post 5, Junior Alvarado], a stakes-placed daughter of Twirling Candy for trainer Carlos David; J.W. Singer’s first-out maiden winner Magic Circle [post 9, Manny Franco]; James Chapman trained and co-owned Saucy Lady T [post 3, Dylan Davis], who finished third in all three graded stakes for juvenile fillies at Saratoga; and KEM Stable’s Linda Rice-trained second out maiden winner Hot Fudge [post 4, Jose Ortiz].
The Frizette honors the multiple stakes-winner who is more aptly known for her stellar career as a broodmare. Campaigned by James Keene and subsequently owned by Herman Duryea, Frizette was responsible for producing multiple prominent broodmare lines including champion Myrtlewood, whose descendants include 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, influential patriarch Mr. Prospector and 1942 Kentucky Oaks victress Miss Dogwood.
Other descendants of Frizette include 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand and 1942 Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Vagrancy. The Frizette has also been a popular stopping point for subsequent winners of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, including Meadow Star , Flanders , Storm Song , Storm Flag Flying , Indian Blessing , My Miss Aurelia , and Jaywalk .
The Frizette is slated as Race 9 on Sunday’s 10-race card. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
Sunday’s program also includes the Grade 2, $200,000 Pilgrim for juveniles going 1 1/16 miles over the turf and the Grade 3, $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya for fillies and mares travelling 1 3/8 miles over the turf.
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Ryan Martin/NYRA Press Office
Photo: Echo Zulu won the Spinaway G1 at Saratoga on September 5, 2021 with Ricardo Santana, Jr. up. (NYRA/Coglianese)