Lester’s Echo turned on the speed to win the $85,000 Mt. Cristo Rey Handicap on Saturday at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. Under jockey Isaias Cardenas, the sharp Lester’s Echo parlayed a jet propelled start into a wire to wire three-quarter length win in the four and one-half furlong sprint for older New Mexico-bred Thoroughbreds.
Despite winning his last two sprints, Lester’s Echo was let go at 7-2 odds at post time. Winning trainer Owen Bringhurst had his charge well prepared for a third straight win. The veteran six-year-old gelding broke like a bullet and was never headed in the feature race. He faced challenges on both sides from Kiss My Hennessy and Agiba Yulla but was up to the task on all fronts. The front runner dug in through the final 100 yards and would not be denied. Despite blustery conditions, the winning time was a fast 50.64.
Lester’s Echo collected his 8th win from 24 career starts and the gelded son of The Trader’s Echo may be reaching a career peak. He earned a $51,000 payday for owners Diana Bringhurst along with Jeff and Chris Meyers of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The high powered speedster has earned over $257,000 in his productive career. Lester’s Echo paid $9.20 on a $2 win ticket.
2012 Copper Top Futurity winner Kiss My Hennessy ran a strong race to finish second. The three-year-old multiple stakes winner was facing older runners for the first time. The 5-2 favorite ran bravely along the inside to get the runner-up spot for trainer Todd Fincher. Agiba Yulla pressed the winner throughout from his outside draw. The grey sprinter almost came to even terms with Lester’s Echo heading into the stretch, but had no answer for the winner down the lane. Doms Flash was fourth, beaten 2 and 1/2 lengths. Defending champion Our Choice failed the muster a substantial stretch attack and wound up sixth.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at 1 p.m. Here Kittykittykitty defends his title in the featured $85,000 Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap (4th race) at 350 yards.