Elate Finds Her Way Back To The Winner’s Circle In Fleur De Lis

Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s homebred Elate hadn’t won since last July, but the 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro found her way back to the winner’s circle with a big effort in Saturday’s Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs. Ridden by Jose Ortiz for trainer Bill Mott, Elate was stuck down inside for most of the 1 1/8-mile trip but got out in the stretch and came charging late to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Sent to post as the 4-5 favorite, Elate stopped the clock in 1:50.33 over the fast main track to earn an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff this fall at Santa Anita Park.

“Jose got the perfect rail trip and once he straightened her out in the lane she came running late,” said Mott. “We thought the added distance makes a bit of difference with her and we like to have a goal to shoot for at the end of the year with the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI). If she belongs, that’s a race to definitely shoot for.”

Elate was off a bit slow and pushed down against the rail behind a slow early pace, but the trip never deterred jockey Jose Ortiz. The mare was comfortable in stride behind Skeptic’s fractions of :25.02 and :49.70, with She’s A Julie traveling well in second and Blue Prize keeping the eventual winner company in third position.

Rounding the far turn, She’s A Julie took over the lead and was quickly challenged by Blue Prize. Go Google Yourself was trying to make up ground from the rear of the field, but as soon as Elate set her sights on the finish line the race for first was over. Elate cruised under the wire with a commanding 1 1/2-length advantage, while Blue Prize battled on to finish second ahead of She’s A Julie. Go Google Yourself was fourth.

“It was a very good race,” Ortiz said. “I saw Javier had a lot of horse with Blue Prize so I didn’t want to make a premature move. Once she saw the clear she just cruised home.”

Bred in Kentucky by her owners, Elate is a third-generation homebred out of the stakes-winning Distorted Humor mare Cheery, herself out of multiple G1-placed mare Yell (A.P. Indy). Seth Hancock bought into the family with G1-placed Virginia-bred Wild Applause (Northern Dancer) for $1,025,000 at the Keeneland November sale of 1992. Her extended family includes stallions like Congrats, Flatter and Roar, among others.

A multiple Grade 1 winner, Elate’s record now stands at 6-5-2 from 15 starts with earnings over $1.6 million.

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