Chasing Eclipse, Thor's Echo to Run in Dash

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Thor's Echo, who became just the second California-bred to win a Breeders' Cup race when he captured the 2006 TVG Sprint (gr. I) Saturday at Churchill Downs, is to remain in the East in quest of an Eclipse Award.

Trainer Doug O'Neill confirmed Wednesday that the 4-year-old Swiss Yodeler gelding is being pointed to the $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) at Laurel Park Nov. 25.

"Thor's Echo will stay at Keeneland and ship to Laurel a week before the Frank De Francis Dash," O'Neill said from his Hollywood Park stable.

"I was proud of Thor's Echo," said O'Neill. "He deserves some national attention. If he can do it again at Laurel, he should be sprinter of the year. That's our goal."

With his first win of 2006, Thor's Echo's joined Tiznow, the two-time Classic hero, as the only California-bred to win a Breeder's Cup race.

Unlike stablemate Lava Man, who disappointed for the fourth time outside California, Thor's Echo loves to travel. He won the WinStar Derby at Sunland Park in New Mexico last year and finished second in the Golden Shaheen Stakes (UAE-I) in Dubai in March.

Other O'Neill trainees who raced in the Breeders' Cup or on the undercard were flown back to Southern California Tuesday.

O'Neill said that Great Hunter, third in the Juvenile (gr. I), would probably skip the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) on Dec. 16 since owner J. Paul Reddam has another colt, Notional, pointed for the race.

O'Neill also said 2005 2-year-old champion Stevie Wonderboy is doing well in his comeback and is scheduled to work four furlongs Friday. He hopes to return in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.