This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion that opens me up to ridicule and scorn. But I’m going to say it anyway. I think Elate is overrated.
Let’s ignore the four losses in the first five starts of her career. She had legit excuses in all of them, and in no way do I think they are representative of her ability. I want to focus on what she has done dating back to last summer, starting with her loss to Abel Tasman in the Coaching Club American Oaks, which was the first of three times she has finished behind Abel Tasman. And she ran well in defeat that day. Then she rattled off back-to-back Grade 1s in the Alabama and the Beldame, which set her up for the role of favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar last November. Both wins were visually stunning, to be sure. That said, I was surprised how heavily she was bet in the Distaff, where she would run 4th against the best field she has ever faced.
So then she gets the long layoff this year, romps at 3/5 at Delaware against no one, and fails to get by Abel Tasman, again, last weekend in the Personal Ensign. So that’s three times she faced Abel Tasman, and three losses. To date, other than the visual impressiveness of her wins in the Alabama and the Beldame, her claim to fame is that she almost beat Able Tasman twice. That’s it. Oh, and she’s trained by Bill Mott and was bred and is owned by Claiborne. I don’t think anyone points to the wins at Delaware as a sign that she’s special. So it comes down to the big Grade 1s last year against the likes of Salty and Eskenformoney, and the near-misses to Abel Tasman.
And now we hear that Bill Mott may point her to the Classic. I mean, I get that she has won twice at 10 furlongs. Not a small factor. But maybe she should try to rack up ONE win against an elite filly before they start talking about taking on the boys. And I don’t consider Teresa Z an elite filly. Salty either.
The Distaff might be shaping up as a real barn burner. Monomoy Girl. Abel Tasman. Wonder Gadot. Elate would have her hooves full against that bunch. And a win there would be a major accomplishment. I don’t think they should consider the Classic for one moment more. She belongs in the Distaff.
Now, if she beats the boys at some point before Classic, we can revisit the issue.