ELMONT, N.Y. — Coming to the top of the stretch aboard heavily favored Elate in the Grade 1 Beldame, Jose Ortiz had plenty of horse. He just needed to find some place to let her run.
Just above the three-sixteenths pole, Ortiz found that necessary room and guided Elate between Bishop’s Pond and Money’soncharlotte and Elate cruised through and galloped to an 8 1/4-length victory in the $400,000 Beldame at Belmont Park. Money’soncharlotte got second by a nose over Eskenformoney. It was a neck back to Verve’s Tale in fourth. She was followed by, in order, Bishop’s Pond, Bombshell and Presumptuous.
The win was the second consecutive Grade 1 victory for Elate, who won the Alabama at Saratoga in her last start, and more than likely earned her a spot in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar on Nov. 3.
In the Distaff, Elate will find tougher foes than she met in the Beldame. Despite being the lone 3-year-old filly in the field, Elate was sent off the 1-5 favorite and returned $2.60 to win.
Breaking from the rail under Ortiz, Elate sat fourth, 1 1/2 lengths off a decent pace established by Bishop’s Pond and Money’soncharlotte, who set fractions of 23.36 for the quarter and 47.08 for the half-mile. Eskenformoney joined the fray three wide, and at the five-sixteenths pole Ortiz was sitting with a hand full of horse and nowhere to go.
Watching from the grandstand, Bill Mott, the trainer of Elate, said he wasn’t too worried.
“I have a lot of confidence in the horse and the rider and I know sometimes you’re stuck down in there and you get stuffed, but he had the length of the stretch to do it in,” Mott said. “And I could tell he was sitting there loaded.”
Ortiz was just waiting to pull the trigger. Bishop’s Pond was on the rail and at one point her rider, Irad Ortiz Jr., hit her left-handed as if to come off the rail. Jose Ortiz said he screamed that he was there with Elate and his brother immediately moved Bishop’s Pond back to the rail. That created the opening Elate needed.
“I have a lot of horse, I was just waiting for a little hole,” Ortiz said. “Irad hit left-handed and he came over a little bit, that’s when I screamed, but I was already there. When she put her head in she was there all the way and she just blew by them.”
Elate, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro owned and bred by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.21 and returned $2.60 to win.
“I was quite impressed with the acceleration that she showed when she did get through,” Mott said. “I said earlier I think that part of her has improved as the year has gone on. She’s learned how to use her speed.”
Kelly Breen, the trainer of Money’soncharlotte, said he was happy his mare finished second in a Grade 1, but the margin of defeat to Elate does not inspire him to try the Breeders’ Cup.
“That horse ran a monster race,” Breen said. “If this horse here goes and a couple of speed horses from California I’m going to have to do some deep soul-searching with [owner] George Hall.”