Trainer Bill Mott had not saddled multiple Grade 1 winner ELATE in competition since the dark bay lass ran fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) last November 3, but that changed on Saturday when the Hall of Fame conditioner sent the talented miss out in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (G2).
Elate conquered her belated four-year-old bow in effortless fashion with jockey Jose Ortiz aboard. The duo stalked the early pace of :24.21 and :49.38 set by 127-1 long shot Proper Discretion, moved up on the outside to secure the lead nearing the final turn and drew off in the stretch to be 3 1/4 lengths clear on the wire.
Sneaky Betty rallied to stick her neck in front of Teresa Z on the line to take second as the 85-1 second longest shot on the board. It was another 1 1/4 lengths behind to 77-1 shot Fuhriously Kissed, who got her nose down on the wire for fourth over 5-2 second choice Unbridled Mo. Mopotism came next and completing the order of finish were Nikki My Darling, who went to her knees when the gates opened, and Proper Discretion.
Elate was worth $3.20 as the prohibitive 3-5 favorite, and ran 1 1/4 miles over Delaware Park’s fast main track in 2:04.83.
The Medaglia d’Oro filly returned to the site of her 5 1/2-length score in the Light Hearted Stakes from last year, which came one race before the Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider homebred finished second by a head in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1). She followed that effort with a pair of romping wins in Saratoga’s Alabama Stakes (G1) and Belmont Park’s Beldame Invitational (G1) en route to her Breeders’ Cup Distaff try at Del Mar.
The Kentucky-bred lass now sports a 5-3-1 mark from 11 career races and joined the millionaire’s club in this spot, boasting $1,270,325 in lifetime earnings.
Elate comes from a blue-blood female line as the first registered foal out of the stakes-winning Distorted Humor mare Cheery, who is half-sister to Grade 1-placed Chide. Elate’s second dam is the A.P. Indy mare Yell, a Grade 2 heroine who just missed second in the 2003 Kentucky Oaks (G1) by a head, and her third dam is the Northern Dancer mare Wild Applause, another Grade 2 winner who produced such sires as Grade 1 winner Eastern Echo, Grade 2 scorer Roar and Grade 3 victor Blare of Trumpets.
Elate’s fourth dam is Broodmare of the Year Glowing Tribute, probably best known for foaling 1993 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Sea Hero.
One race before the Delaware ‘Cap, GOLDEN BROWN split rivals to grab command of the $200,375 Kent Stakes (G3) in the lane and pull off the 15-1 upset under jockey Jairo Rendon. Sent off the second longest shot on the board, the Offlee Wild sophomore finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of Hot Springs .
Archaggelos, the 32-1 longshot, tried to lead all the way home, setting splits of :24.60, :48.55, 1:11.68 and 1:36.14. Upon hitting the stretch, the bay colt was surrounded by rivals and began drifting toward the inside. Meanwhile, 6-5 favorite Untamed Domain bided his time in last, found his way blocked by a wall of horses and attempted to scoot through the inside when a gap opened on the rail.
Archaggelos’ inward drift forced Hot Springs into Untamed Domain and closed the gap, causing both the favorite and Duc de Calas just in behind to check sharply.
Golden Brown avoided all the trouble, finishing 1 1/8 miles over the firm Delaware Park turf in 1:48.06 to return $33.20. Hot Springs took second by a length over Carrick, while Archaggelos and Way Early dead-heated for fourth. Those two finished a nose up on Untamed Domain, who was followed by Gunnison and Duc de Calas.
Not long after the race was done, jockey Jose Ortiz on Untamed Domain lodged an objection and the stewards inquiry light came on. Archaggelos was eventually disqualified for drifting in during the stretch and placed sixth, giving Way Early sole ownership of fourth and elevating Untamed Domain to fifth.
Golden Brown improved his record to read 7-3-3-0, $209,500 by taking his graded bow in this spot. It was also the first turf win for the Patrick McBurney trainee after running second in his grass and stakes debut in the Dan Horn Handicap last out.
Campaigned by ABL Stable, D. Bossone, P. Donnely and J Schnoor Jr., Golden Brown was bred in New Jersey by Esther de Jong. The sophomore is the first stakes winner out of the course record-setting Chester House mare Suzee Sunrise, who is a half-sister to Group 3 victor Arcadia’s Angle.