Fleur de Lis: Elate gets her mojo back

Churchill Downs stakes recap:

Elate, with Jose Ortiz up, won the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis over 2018 winner Blue Prize to earn an entry fees-paid spot to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Coady Photography photos

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, June 15, 2019)Adele B. Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Elate powered past Blue Prize (Arg) and She’s a Julie to capture Saturday night’s 44th running of the $250,000 Fleur de Lis presented by Budweiser (Grade II) at Churchill Downs.

Elate, ridden by Jose Ortiz and trained by Bill Mott, ran 1 1/8 miles on the fast dirt in 1:50.33. By winning the Fleur de Lis, Elate secured and “Win and You’re In” berth to the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) on Nov. 2.

Skeptic set pokey opening fractions of :25 for the first quarter mile, :49.70 for the half-mile and 1:13.85 for six furlongs before She’s a Julie and Blue Prize battled for the lead at the top of the stretch. Elate ranged three wide at the eighth pole to take the lead and draw off by a final margin of 1 ½ lengths.

“Jose got the perfect rail trip and once he straightened her out in the lane she came running late,” Mott said. “We thought the added distance makes a bit of difference with her and we like to have a goal to shoot for at the end of the year with the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. If she belongs, that’s a race to definitely shoot for.”

         Elate, the 4-5 favorite in the wagering, paid $3.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Blue Prize, with jockey Javier Castellano aboard, paid $3.20 and $2.40. She’s a Julie, ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. finished third and returned $2.20. Go Google Yourself, Auspicious Babe and Skeptic rounded out the field.

Elate improved her record to 15-6-5-2 with $1,698,375 in earnings.

FLEUR DE LIS QUOTES

Jose Ortiz, jockey of ELATE (winner): “It was a very good race. I saw Javier had a lot of horse with Blue Prize so I didn’t want to make a premature move. Once she saw the clear she just cruised home.”

Bill Mott, trainer of ELATE (winner): “Jose got the perfect rail trip and once he straightened her out in the lane she came running late. We thought the added distance makes a bit of difference with her and we like to have a goal to shoot for at the end of the year with the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI). If she belongs, that’s a race to definitely shoot for.”

Javier Castellano, jockey of BLUE PRIZE (runner-up): “She tried really hard today. I ‘m really satisfied by the way she ran. She fought all the way to the end. I don’t want to take anything away from the winner. We hooked up with one of the best horses in the country and fought really hard for second place.”

Ricardo Santana Jr., jockey of SHE’S A JULIE (third): “She put in a good effort.”

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Jennie Rees