05/09/2012 3:02PM

Belmont Park: Questing ready turf or dirt in Friday allowance

Barbara D. Livingston
Questing will make her second start for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin on Friday at Belmont.

ELMONT, N.Y. – The wet weather that has forced 18 races off the turf in the first nine days of racing at Belmont Park was expected to subside by late Wednesday, perhaps affording the return of grass racing here Thursday or Friday.

Turf or dirt, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin believes Questing will handle the footing on whichever surface Friday’s $72,000, second-level allowance will be run. The seven-furlong race is scheduled for the Widener turf course.

Questing, a Darley homebred daughter of Hard Spun, began her career 1 for 3 in Europe when trained by John Gosden. The win came in her debut over seven furlongs at Newbury, before she was beaten a head and a neck in a pair of Grade 3 races at Goodwood and Newmarket, respectively.

Questing shipped to the United States and made her dirt debut in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, where she finished fifth, 11 3/4 lengths behind My Miss Aurelia. Questing stayed in the United States with trainer McLaughlin, who ran her in a first-level allowance race on turf at Gulfstream, where she finished fourth, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Dame Marie.

“She was a bit keen, but she ran very well,” McLaughlin said. “Hopefully, she’ll be just off it and settle. She’ll probably be forwardly placed on turf, but there are a couple with speed.”

McLaughlin said that if the race is transferred to the dirt, he wouldn’t mind seeing Questing be in the race early.

Some of the speed lined up for this race includes Sweet Miss Avery, Minestrone, and Smokin’ Alice.

A hot early pace might suit Fire Assay, who returns to Belmont where last fall she won a seven-furlong maiden race rallying from last under Jose Lezcano. Fire Assay has made just one start this year, that being a sixth-place finish in a first-level turf allowance race Jan. 8.

Since then, however, Fire Assay has a bullet-laden work tab, including a best-of-73 half-mile move in 47 seconds over the Belmont training track last Sunday. Her trainer, Jimmy Toner, is already 2 for 2 at the meet.

Anna Sophia, trained by Bill Mott, appears to be a dual surface threat. She won her debut on dirt at Belmont last year and has run well in two turf starts, including a 1 1/2-length loss to Karlovy Vary, who won the Grade 1 Ashland.

Scenario Analysis finished the Gulfstream meet with two wins in the claiming ranks and steps up here for trainer Chad Brown. Lezcano rides.

If the race is moved to dirt, Victory for V L Ts becomes a player for trainer Linda Rice.