J Boys Ecco Qualifies for Kentucky Derby with Gotham Win
Going into the Gotham Stakes Saturday at Aqueduct, J Boys Ecco wasn’t given much of a chance to overturn his Withers Stakes loss to El Areeb a month earlier. But how things change quickly on the Kentucky Derby Trail.
J Boys Echo showed his improvement and speed using a four-wide blitz on the far turn to sweep by Cloud Computing and the odds-on favorite El Areeb. He then seized command in the stretch to win the $300,000 Gotham by 3 ½ lengths. J Boys Echo earned a preliminary 102 Beyer Speed Figure in the Gotham.
Off at 6-1 in the Gotham, J Boys Echo returned $14.60, $7.30 and $2.70. He covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.34. Trained by Dale Romans, J Boys Echo had only a maiden win to his credit going into the Gotham and finished third behind El Areeb in the Grade III Withers in February.
“A little bit of pressure is off so we need a performance worthy of going to the Derby next out and keep him together for a couple more months,” Romans said. “I think it’s great to win in New York. If you can do it here, you can do it anywhere.”
Following the weekend of racing, J Boys Echo moved towards the top of the Kentucky Derby qualifying points leaderboard with 53. He returned to his South Florida training base at Gulfstream Park following the race.
J Boys Echo is the son of Mineshaft, who was bred by 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy.
“This horse hasn’t been the easiest of horses,” Romans said. “He’s been a project for (assistant trainer Tammy Fox), and she’s done a great job getting him around and getting us here. He just needed to grow up”
J Boys Echo’s pedigree suggests he has a good chance of staying the Kentucky Derby distance. Hopefully we will have a better idea of whether this progressive colt is good enough when he contests the Blue Grass or the Wood Memorial, both scheduled for April 8.