Elate seeks second straight Delaware Handicap win

The Grade II, $750,000 Delaware Handicap, the highlight of the Delaware Park meeting, is set for Saturday. A field of nine fillies and mares will do battle over a demanding 1 1/4-miles on the main course. Post time for the Delaware Handicap, Race 8 of nine on the day, is 5:25 p.m. ET.

#7 ELATE (7-5, morning-line favorite) was last seen beating BLUE PRIZE in Churchill’s Fleur de Lis Stakes on June 15. Prior to that she’d dropped three straight stakes, albeit she ran behind Abel Tasman once and Midnight Bisou twice. ELATE topped a slightly lesser group of fillies and mares in this race a year ago but she did it in style, winning by 3 1/4-lengths. That ran her career record in 10-furlong races to 2-for-2. Jose Ortiz should guide the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro to another easy victory in the Delaware Handicap.

#2 GOTHAM GALA (8-1) won the local prep for the Delaware Handicap, the Obeah Stakes, in gate-to-wire style last month. She earned a career-best speed figure in her initial try on the Wilmington oval under Daniel Centeno, beating ANOTHER BROAD and GOODONEHONEY in the process. There’s not much speed entered in this race, so look for GOTHAM GALA to try and steal it up front. She should be able to stay on for a share.

#6 BLUE PRIZE (7-2) has dropped three straight since taking Keeneland’s Spinster Stakes last October. However, she should improve racing the third time off the layoff in the Delaware Handicap. BLUE PRIZE has run only one career race at 1 1/4-miles but won in her native Argentina. Joe Bravo will be in the irons. It should be interesting to watch the early chess match between Ortiz and ELATE and Bravo and BLUE PRIZE unfold.

The play: $5 exacta 7/2,6 ($10)

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