After placing in her first two starts this year, Elate got back in the win column with a comfortable score in the June 15 Fleur des Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs and the classy mare will look to carry her momentum forward in Saturday’s $750,000 Delaware H. (G2). The five-time stakes winner will spot two-to-10 pounds to her eight rivals as the 122-pound highweight and has been installed as the 7-5 morning line favorite.
The five-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro kicked off her 2018 campaign with a Del ‘Cap victory and is a two-time stakes winner at Delaware Park, earning her first black-type success in the 2017 Light Hearted. Elate races for owner/breeders Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider and regular rider Jose Ortiz will be up for Bill Mott.
Blue Prize posted four stakes victories last year, including the Spinster (G1), and recorded a rallying fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). The Argentinean-bred mare returned this season with a third in the La Troienne (G1) on the Kentucky Oaks undercard and finished second to Elate in the Fleur des Lis. Listed as the 7-2 second choice, Blue Prize rates as a candidate for further improvement in the third start off a freshening and Joe Bravo rides the six-year-old chestnut for Ignacio Correas.
Escape Clause has been pegged as the early 5-1 third choice. Last year’s champion older female in Canada, the Manitoba-bred mare rolled to a 5 1/2-length tally in the La Canada (G3) at Santa Anita earlier this season and finished one spot better than Elate when recording a nose second to Midnight Bisou in the Apple Blossom (G1) in mid-April. The Dan Schnell-trained five-year-old will try to rebound from a disappointing fourth in the Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont Park and Tyler Baze retains the mount.
Gotham Gala exits a convincing wire-to-wire win in the June 15 Obeah over the track and comes next on the morning line at 8-1. Daniel Centeno has the call for Arnaud Delacour.
The nine-race program also features the $100,000 Dashing Beauty for female sprinters; $100,000 Just a Kiss for turf distaffers; $100,000 Hockessin for sprinters; and $100,000 Glasgow on turf.