September 19, 2018

Elate opens 2018 campaign as Del ‘Cap favorite

Elate romps to a 5 1/2-length victory in the Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga (c) NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography

After smashing wins in the Beldame (G1) and Alabama (G1), Elate had the opportunity to earn 3-year-old filly championship honors in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Del Mar but faltered as the 5-2 favorite with a well-beaten fourth. It’s been a long wait but she will return Saturday in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (G2).

Elate discovered her best form during the second-half of the 2017 season, registering 108 BRIS Speed ratings for her aforementioned Grade 1 tallies, and Bill Mott hopes the classy 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro can emulate the same pattern this year.

Installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite, the Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider homebred will face eight rivals off the 253-day layoff in the prestigious 1 ¼-mile Del ‘Cap and Jose Ortiz retains the mount.

Apple Blossom (G1) heroine Unbridled Mo comes next on the morning line at 5-2. The Todd Pletcher-trainee won six of her first seven starts but after opening last year with a pair of Grade 3 tallies, the Uncle Mo mare headed to the sidelines for nearly 10 months. She rolled to 2 ¼-length Apple Blossom victory over slow-starting Unique Bella when making her second start back this season but Unbridled Mo will need to improve upon a non-threatening third in the June 9 Ogden Phipps (G1). John Velazquez will be up.

Farrell enters in good form for Wayne Catalno, finishing second in the La Troienne (G1) and Fleur de Lis (G2), and the 4-year-old filly promises to be setting the pace with regular rider Channing Hill. She’s listed at 9-2 along with Grade 2 scorer and Fleur de Lis third-placer Mopotism. Doug O’Neill is responsible for the latter and Mario Gutierrez will be in to guide the 4-year-old filly.

Teresa Z didn’t fare well in her last couple of graded attempts but appears headed in the right direction for Tony Margotta Jr., recording a sharp win in the local prep, the June 16 Obeah. She netted a career-best 99 BRIS Speed rating for the 2 ¾-length decision and Daniel Centeno sticks with the improving 4-year-old filly.

Fuhriously Kissed, Sneaky Betty, Proper Discretion and Nikki My Darling round out the field.

Untamed Domain heads a cast of nine 3-year-olds in the $200,000 Kent (G3). A dead-heat second in the American Turf (G2) two back, the Graham Motion-trained son of Animal Kingdom found the waters too deep against Catholic Boy and Analyze It when finishing fourth most recently in the Pennine Ridge (G3) at Belmont Park. He will be the one to beat here with Ortiz.

Hot Springs, who exit maiden and allowance tallies on the turf at Churchill Downs, will make his stakes bow in the 1 1/8-mile turf test for Steve Asmusssen. Penn Mile (G2) runner-up Way Early and Gunnison, winner of the June 2 Tale of the Cat at Monmouth, are also part of the mix.

The $75,000 Hockessin and $50,000 Carl Hanford Memorial complete the stakes fare.

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