Elate&rsquo;s season began with fits and starts that caused some to lose faith in her &ndash; but that did not include her connections. With patient handling, the filly ended the year as a multiple Grade 1 winner and divisional Eclipse Award finalist. Elate, a daughter of Medaglia d&rsquo;Oro who races as a homebred for Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, was a 12 1/2&#45;length debut winner at Aqueduct in November 2016, but couldn&rsquo;t follow with a victory in the early part of her 3&#45;year&#45;old season.She finished second in the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay, then third in the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn. Sent off as the even&#45;money favorite in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland, Elate had an even more worrisome experience, pulled up entering the stretch when jockey Jose Ortiz thought she took an odd step, and subsequently was vanned off as a precautionary measure. A thorough post&#45;race exam revealed nothing amiss.Elate finished second in an optional&#45;claiming event on a sloppy track on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott had no regrets about not being in that day&rsquo;s main event.&ldquo;We gave her a little bit of time after she broke her maiden and we started cranking her up and getting her ready for the races, and it was just kind of like she really hadn&rsquo;t come alive yet,&rdquo; Mott said. &ldquo;She was doing fine; her works were good without being spectacular, and you could tell she was probably a filly that was going through a little bit of a growing stage, a development stage. We said then that she probably wouldn&rsquo;t be on her game for the Kentucky Oaks, that she was more of an Alabama filly.&rdquo;Mott&rsquo;s prediction turned out to be spot&#45;on. Elate began to turn things around with a 5 1/2&#45;length victory in the Light Hearted Stakes at Delaware, then finished second by a head to Abel Tasman in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks.She finally broke through in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes four weeks later. Leading into the stretch, she found an explosive turn of foot to win the historic event by 5 1/2 lengths. Runner&#45;up It Tiz Well, who had earlier defeated Elate in the Honeybee, went on to win the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing over Abel Tasman. Elate went on to romp by 8 1/4 lengths in the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park, giving her a victory over older foes. She finished fourth in the Longines Breeders&rsquo; Cup Distaff behind Forever Unbridled, Abel Tasman, and Paradise Woods, all fellow multiple Grade 1 winners in 2017.