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Champion Echo Zulu Euthanized After Stall Injury

Echo Zulu sustained a biaxial sesamoid fracture of her left front fetlock Oct. 13.

Echo Zulu wins the 2021 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar

Echo Zulu wins the 2021 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar

Skip Dickstein

The 2021 champion 2-year-old filly Echo Zulu was euthanized Feb. 18 at a veterinary hospital in Southern California after sustaining a leg injury in her stall. 

Echo Zulu sustained a biaxial sesamoid fracture of her left front fetlock last Oct. 13 while training for the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park. Biaxial sesamoid bone fractures are when a horse breaks both sesamoids in the same leg.

Trainer Steve Asmussen told Daily Racing Form that Echo Zulu had "become cast in her stall and was injured when she tried to rise to her feet."

"I always maintained hope that we could get her back and extend her life," said David Fiske, racing manager for Winchell Thoroughbreds, which co-owned and campaigned Echo Zulu with L and N Racing. "I don't know that I ever got to the point where I was thinking, 'Oh, yeah, we've got this.' It was always guarded optimism and just horribly unfortunate, the whole thing beginning to end."

Echo Zulu underwent surgery Oct. 14. Fiske said at the time that Dr. Ryan Carpenter, who performed the surgery, said the best-case scenario for Echo Zulu would be to one day see her out in the field with a foal. 

"That's what we were all hoping for. But that's not going to happen," Fiske said.

In her Eclipse-winning year, Echo Zulu was undefeated in four starts, winning the Spinaway Stakes (G1) and Frizette Stakes (G1) before claiming the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

She came back the next year with wins in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) and Dogwood Stakes (G3) sandwiched around a fourth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). She returned to the Breeders' Cup, where she fell short against future champion Goodnight Olive and finished second in the Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) at Keeneland.

"She was one of the fastest horses in training," Fiske said. "I think she was the fastest horse we've maybe ever campaigned. ... But as Steve said to me this morning, the only thing that exceeded her talent on the racetrack was her demeanor and kindness around the barn. So it's a blow to everybody."

By Gun Runner  and out of the Menifee mare Letgomyecho, the 5-year-old Echo Zulu was 9-1-0 from 11 starts and earned $2,640,375. Her final start, a triumphant one in the Ballerina Handicap (G1), moved her atop her sire's progeny earnings list. She was Gun Runner's first grade 1-winning offspring, taking the Spinaway in her second start a day before Gunite  won the Hopeful Stakes (G1).

Echo Zulu was bred by Betz, J. Betz, Burns, CHNNHK, Magers, CoCo Equine, and Ramsby. Winchell purchased Echo Zulu at the 2020 Keeneland September Sale for $300,000 out of the Betz Thoroughbreds consignment.