Photo: NYRA Photo
it was Connect, taking the Cigar Mile, and Mo Town, winning the Remsen, that rightly
garnered most of the attention at Aqueduct back on November 26, it could be a
maiden special weight for juvenile fillies which turns out to have the most
impact on the 2017 racing season. Unveiled in that race was a Claiborne Farm and Adele B.
Dilschneider homebred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, and considering the success in which that sire has had with his fillies
(Rachel Alexandra and Songbird), it seems prudent to pay attention when one
breaks her maiden in impressive style. Elate
did just that on Cigar Mile day.
her advantage with every good-looking stride, the Bill Mott-trained filly whistled home by more than a dozen lengths in
that career debut. Now, 11 weeks later, she is ready to make her highly anticipated
return to the races, when she heads the field for Saturday’s $100,000 Suncoast
Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
typically understated fashion, her Hall of Fame trainer talked about the
performance after her initial start, "She ran a nice race," said
Mott. "She looked good this morning. The fact that she drew away the way
she did and Jose [Ortiz] asked her to run a little bit through the stretch, she
did everything she was supposed to do."
many good horses as Mott has been around over the years, you are not going to
get much more from him following a maiden win, but anyone that was there that
Thanksgiving weekend at Aqueduct has been eagerly awaiting the return of one of
the most impressive juvenile fillies of 2016.
by the stakes winning Distorted Humor mare, Cheery, Elate was given a Beyer
Speed Figure of 88 for her one-mile, debut score at the Big A. For comparison’s
sake, that number was higher than both graded stakes races for juveniles that
day, with the impressive Grade 2 Remsen win by Mo Town coming in closest with
an 86. While that one occupies a high ranking on most expert’s Kentucky Derby
lists, Elate looks to begin her road to the Kentucky Oaks in the Suncoast.
to be ridden once again by Jose Ortiz, Elate will get her first taste of
two-turn racing on Saturday. While she should rule a red-hot favorite at Tampa,
the Suncoast has drawn a field of nine. Chief among her competition is the
Gerald Bennett-trained R Angel Katelyn, who has compiled an excellent career
mark of 5-4-1-0, including two consecutive stakes wins locally. Make no
mistake, though, Elate is strictly the filly to beat.
bred on both sides of her pedigree, you may find her unfolding story familiar. Six
years ago, Mott brought another highly regarded, impeccably bred filly to Tampa
for the Suncoast. That one had also made only one start, winning a maiden in
the fall in New York by a dozen lengths. Bet down to 8-5, she finished a dull
ninth of ten. Two Breeders’ Cup victories, and three consecutive Eclipse Awards
later, and Royal Delta is on her way to the Hall of Fame.
has oodles to live up to if she wants to be mentioned in the same breath as
Royal Delta, but maybe she can get an early jump on that Mott great by winning
the Suncoast. Having been there that afternoon at Aqueduct, I can tell you firsthand that her future looks nothing but bright.