Breeders' Cup - At The Races


  • Trainer: William Mott
  • Likely Jockey: Jose Ortiz
  • Owner: Claiborne Farm & Adele B Dilschneider
  • Age & Breeding: 3-year-old filly; Medaglia d'Oro - Cheery
  • Season Form Figures: 3P1211
  • Career Highlight: Thrashing the older fillies in the Beldame.

When Elate made her racecourse debut in November 2016 as a two-year-old, she destroyed a field by 12 lengths and drew comparisons to another Bill Mott filly, the great Royal Delta, the two-time Breeders’ Cup Distaff champion.

Those comparisons didn’t look so good earlier this year. She lost the first four starts of the campaign, looking rather one-paced in the process, but Mott never lost faith. From early on in 2017, he thought of her more as an Alabama filly (the August Grade 1 at Saratoga) than a Kentucky Oaks filly, and true to Mott’s idea, Elate did improve as the year went on.

The first sign that that the penny had dropped came in June. Shipped out of her home base to run in a listed stake in Delaware. The plan worked to perfection, Elate showed renewed interest early and late, sticking close to the pace and drawing off impressively. Next out, she transferred her form to the highest level, going very close to the Kentucky Oaks winner Abel Tasman in the CCA Oaks at Saratoga, a race she might have won if she’d had a clean run in the lane.

But it was Alabama – as Mott had prophesized – where she really made herself known. She blasted a good-looking field by more than five. Some thought the added distance (10 furlongs) was partially responsible for how much better she looked than the field, but she came back in the Grade 1 Beldame to thrash (an admittedly overmatched) group of older fillies in good time at nine furlongs.

So now it’s the big question: can she beat a good field of elders? She’s never faced one as good as Stellar Wind, but her blend of raw talent and speed, makes this later developing filly a valid candidate to emulate Royal Delta after all and win a Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Current odds of 5-1 make that a fair proposition.