WILMINGTON, DE – Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s homebred star Elate successfully defended her belt in dominating fashion on Saturday, waltzing home victoriously in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (G2) at Delaware Park.
Breaking from post 7 under Jose Ortiz as the 1/5 prohibitive favorite, Elate settled into mid-pack while Gotham Gala set the pace through opening fractions of :24.04, :48.19, and 1:12.34. Heading into the far turn, Elate began moving up and was son running four-wide past foes. Midway through the far turn, Elate usurped new leader Escape Clause for the lead, and by the time she straightened for home, already had established a considerable lead.
Geared down late, the Bill Mott-trained Elate jogged across the line with a 4 1/2-length lead in a final time of 2:02.51 for the 1 1/4-mile event over the fast main track.
“I think she is getting back to her old form,” Ortiz said. “Hopefully, she will come out of here well and continue to get better. She loves a mile and 1/4. I am a little disappointed that there are not more races at the distance. She is the best horse in the filly and mare division going a mile and 1/4, but I also think she can cut back to a mile and 1/8 and make it work.”
Unable to keep up with the winner, Escape Clause had to dig in late to hold onto second over Blue Prize. Much farther back came a fading Gotham Gala, while the rest of the field was similarly strung out behind her. Promise of Spring necked out Queen Nekia for fifth, while Another Broad similarly necked out Goodonehoney for seventh. Vente to Go completed the order of finish.
Elate’s win was her second straight after taking the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) last month at Churchill Downs and improved her overall record to 16-7-5-2. The 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro has now earned $2,098,775 in her lifetime.
Elate returned $2.60 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Escape Clause brought back $3.40 to place and $2.40 to show, while Blue Prize paid $2.10 to show.