Stuck behind horses at the top of the stretch, the 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro bulled through a small hole between rivals at the three-sixteenths pole and then rocketed to an 8 1/4-length score in her first — and highly successful — test against older females.
“It was amazing,” said Walker Hancock, president of Claiborne Farm, which owns and bred the filly along with Adele B. Dilschneider. “There were some anxious moments certainly at the quarter-pole. She was the one to beat and they were doing their best to keep her locked up, but once she got some room she exploded.”
For trainer Bill Mott, seeing Elate and jockey Jose Ortiz draw off from their six rivals was the kind of sight he expected earlier in the year from his talented filly.
After a 12 1/2-length victory in her lone start at two, Elate lost her first four starts at three, including a nightmare outing in the Grade 1 Central Bank Ashland Stakes in April when Ortiz pulled her up after he thought she took a bad step. But after a decisive win in the Light Hearted Stakes at Delaware Park in June, her stellar efforts in her last three top-level outings have elevated her to upper echelon of the division.
“She was good enough to get through that hole and the rest is history,” Mott said. “I was glad to see the acceleration she showed today. It’s something that’s improved as the year has gone on and something she lacked early in the year. In the first few races of the year she was grinder, a steady mover. Now she’s showing the speed she always had but she never knew how to never put it all together. She’s a maturing filly and she’s getting better with each start. Today was a good effort.”
Up next figures to be the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff, where Elate figures to meet rival Abel Tasman, Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes winner It Tiz Well, and champion Stellar Wind in the Nov. 3 race at Del Mar.
“I don’t think anyone would argue with me for saying we want to go on to the Breeders’ Cup,” Mott said. “We have to point her in that direction after we see how she comes out of it.”—Bob Ehalt