Saratoga Roundup: Elate wins Alabama at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Elate came within a head of winning a Grade 1 race at Saratoga Race Course last month. With a second chance at the Spa, the Medagila d’Oro filly earned her first graded stakes victory, edging clear in the stretch to capture the 137th running of the $600,000 Alabama for 3-year-old fillies by 5 ½ lengths Saturday.

Elate, one of two entries for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott in the 1 ¼-mile route, went stride-for-stride with Abel Tasman in the final jumps for second-place in the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 23. The Kentucky homebred clinched a trip to the winner’s circle in her lcoal try, taking the lead coming out of the far turn and outkicking It Tiz Well in the stretch, hitting the wire in 2:02.19.

“It looked like we were going to be a little bit wide going through the first turn, and naturally, I need to go review the films to see a bit more, but it looked like when he [jockey Jose Ortiz] left the half-mile pole, he moved her into contention and it looked like she had dead aim on them by the time she reached the quarter-pole,” said Mott, who also saddled sixth-place Lockdown. “It was more of a forward type of race for her. It looks like the mile and a quarter is her type of trip. She finished well and she’s got a nice burst of speed and she stays on well.”

It Tiz Well, trained by fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, outpaced the nine-horse field, beating projected pacesetter Unchained Melody to the front in going a quarter-mile in 23.46 seconds and the half in 46.96.

It Tiz Well maintained the advantage heading into the far turn before jockey Jose Ortiz piloted Elate to the outside near the quarter-pole, took command and used a left-handed whip to fend off a potential late charge. The margin of victory matched Elate’s personal-best effort in winning the Light Hearted on June 15 at Delaware Park.

“She broke well and put me into a great position going into the first turn on the backside,” Ortiz said. “When I got to the three-eighths pole, I felt I had a lot of horse underneath me. I just went along with her and as we entered the stretch, she really got going and I didn’t look back I kept riding. It’s a Grade 1 and I didn’t want to look back for anybody, I just focused on riding her to the finish.”

Off at 4-1, Elate paid $10.60 on a $2 win bet. She won for the third time in eight starts, improving to 3-3-1. The victory nearly doubled her career earnings to $530,325.

It Tiz Well, ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, went off at 13-1 in her first start at the Alabama distance. The daughter of Arch finished a head in front of a hard-charging Salty for runner-up status, marking the eighth time in nine starts she has hit the board.

Salty broke much better than in the CCA Oaks, when she still recovered to finish third.

The Quality Road filly has finished in the money in her last three Grade 1 starts, including a runner-up finish in the Acorn. 

Actress, New Money Honey, Lockdown, Mopotism and favorite Holy Helena completed the order of finish.

Unchained Melody was pulled up. 

Lake Placid Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A late-running charge from Proctor’s Ledge was enough to sweep the “lake” themed graded races for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course and withstand a challenge from Uni to win the 34th running of the Grade 2, $300,000 Lake Placid by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 1:47.74 for 1 1/8 miles on the Mellon turf course.

The Ghostzapper filly, off her 1 ¾-length victory in the Grade 3 Lake George, sat a patient fourth in the field of five that was downsized with the early scratch of Berned, one of two entered for trainer Graham Motion. The victory by Proctor’s Ledge gives her trainer Brendan Walsh a few options as to where to point next.

From the gate, pacesetter Coasted cut the corner into the first turn after leaving her rail post, and led the way through fractions of 24.39 and 50.03 for the half-mile. Party Boat stalked from close range while La Coronel, making her first start since her fifth-place finish in the Group 1 Coronation at Royal Ascot in England, followed along in mid-pack. Proctor’s Ledge followed ahead of Uni who trailed, as three quarters of a mile was run in 1:14.11.

At the quarter-pole, Proctor’s Ledge was angled out five-wide, and launched a bid while Uni made her run from behind and was angled out six-wide. Coasted, now with her foes to her outside, began to tire while Party Boat and La Coronel were outkicked in the stretch. After a mile run in 1:36.54 that proved a quickening pace, Proctor’s Ledge took command a furlong from the wire, while Uni came hard to her outside. It looked as if it could be tight on the wire, but jockey Javier Castellano held the advantage under a drive over Uni, who settled for second by 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Party Boat in third. La Coronel and Coasted completed the order of finish.

Uni, bet as the 8-5 favorite, was making her second U.S. start since her debut on June 8 when third in the Belmont Oaks Invitational.

Proctor’s Ledge was sent off as at 2-1, and returned $6.40 to win.

By Paul Wager

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