12/14/2004 1:00AM

Eastern Echo dead at 16


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Eastern Echo, sire of Grade 1 winners Buddy Gil and Swiss Yodeler, died of a heart attack Tuesday at age 16, Maryland Stallion Station president Don Litz announced.

The syndicated Damascus stallion died at Shamrock Farms in Woodbine, Md., where he will be buried. The Maryland Stallion Station owned a majority interest in Eastern Echo and stood him at Shamrock for the last three seasons. He had been scheduled to move within the week to the Maryland Stallion Station's new facility in Glyndon, Md.

Bred by the late Paul Mellon from his Northern Dancer mare Wild Applause, Eastern Echo was a half-brother to Grade 2 winner and sire Roar, Grade 2 winner Yell, and Grade 3 winner Blare of Trumpets. Eastern Echo had a brief but showy campaign. He ran just three times and was undefeated, winning the Grade 1 Belmont Futurity before injury forced his retirement. Despite such a brief racing career, Eastern Echo's flash of brilliance and his regal pedigree ensured him a good start at stud. He began his stallion career at Lane's End in Versailles, Ky.

Eastern Echo had some early success, most notably with Grade 3 winner Western Echo from his first crop. He got his first of two Grade 1 winners, Swiss Yodeler, from his third crop in 1994.

In 2002, a group of investors bought a majority interest in the horse and moved him to Shamrock with the intent of standing him at the soon-to-be-built Maryland Stallion Station; Lane's End was among founding investors in that venture.

Eastern Echo got his second Grade 1 winner, Buddy Gil, from his 2000 crop. That colt, still Eastern Echo's best runner, won the 2003 Santa Anita Derby and earned more than $800,000. Eastern Echo's other graded or group stakes winners are Kentucky by Eight and Widowhood. Eastern Echo also is the sire of Grade 1-placed Yolo Lady. At his death, Eastern Echo had sired the earners of $18,549,738.