Saturday, Saratoga Race Course
TVG COACHING CLUB AMERICAN OAKS-GI
, $300,000, SAR, 7-21, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m, 1:50 1/5, ft.
1--#@sQUESTING (GB), 121, f, 3, by Hard Spun1st Dam: Chercheuse (MSW-Fr & SP-US, $109,044), by Seeking the Gold
2nd Dam: Sassy Bird, by Storm Bird
3rd Dam: Tash, by Never Bend
O-Godolphin Racing LLC; B-Darley (GB); T-Kiaran P McLaughlin; J-Irad Ortiz Jr; $180,000. Lifetime Record: MGSP-Eng, 8-3-1-1, $314,874. Werk Nick Rating: D+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
, 121, f, 3, Hard Spun
--Zoftig, by Cozzene. O-Live Oak Plantation; B-Live Oak Stud (KY); T-Thomas Albertrani; $60,000.
, 121, f, 3, Empire Maker--Cat Chat, by Storm Cat. ($22,000 RNA yrl '10 KEESEP). O-Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Gary Barber; B-Colts Neck Stables LLC (KY); T-Todd A Pletcher; $30,000.
Margins: 4 1/4, 2 1/4, 10. Odds: 3.90, 2.35, 1.55.
Also Ran: Disposablepleasure, Funny Proposition, Yara.Click for the brisnet.com chart, the brisnet.com PPs or the free brisnet.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Taylor Made Sales.
Questing shaped with a great deal of promise while trained by John Gosden for HRH Princess Haya in 2011, getting straight off the mark in a Newbury maiden June 21 before being beaten a nose and a head in third in the G3 Prestige S. at Goodwood Aug. 27. She suffered another heart-breaking defeat when a neck runner-up in Newmarket's G3 Oh So Sharp S. Sept. 23, and connections opted to roll the dice in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. She did not disgrace herself against the likes of My Miss Aurelia (Smart Strike) and Grace Hall (Empire Maker) in a fifth-place effort and took up permanent residence on this side of the Atlantic with the Kiaran McLaughlin stable.
Given that her juvenile success came on the grass, Questing returned to that surface, but the results were disappointing, as she could manage only a fourth-place finish at odds-on in a Gulfstream allowance going a grassy mile Mar. 14 and cut back to seven-eighths of a mile when a midfield fifth in Belmont allowance company May 11. Connections decided to shake things up a bit and entered the homebred bay for a one-mile allowance on the dirt, and the results were nothing short of spectacular. With Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons for the first time, Questing set a strong pace along the inside and cruised under the wire 3 3/4 lengths to the good of Book Review (Giant's Causeway), who in turn was 13 lengths clear of the third. The form of that event was franked on Saratoga's opening day when Book Review proved the handy winner of a seven-furlong allowance, and Questing was bet down into 7-2 here (from 9-2) while stretching back out to two turns.
Dressed in Godolphin blue--her previous starts this term came in Darley maroon-and-white--Questing was neatly away from the inside stall and landed in second, as GII Davona Dale S. upsetter Yara (Put It Back) set an unreasonably fast opening quarter-mile :23.21. Ortiz gave his mount a bit of rein, and horse and jockey actually edged to the front with fully five furlongs to race, as heavily backed In Lingerie and Zo Impressive were launching their rallies from the rear. Questing scooted two or three lengths clear turning for home, drifted out noticeably in the final eighth of a mile, but was always comfortably in front. Zo Impressive, the GI Acorn S. victress, stayed on to complete the exacta for her sire. "Irad [Ortiz] did a great job," said McLaughlin. "He rode an excellent race for a 19-year-old kid. We thought we were faster than [Yara], but he said, and we talked about it, 'If she goes, let her go.' And he rode a great race. He used good judgment."