Updated on 09/16/2011 7:57AM

Quest Star catches all the breaks


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - First the morning-line favorite scratched. Then the post-time favorite broke slowly, rushed up, and set fast fractions that melted him like an ice-cream cone left out in the sun. The combination proved fruitful for the opportunistic Quest Star, who finally broke through for a graded stakes victory in Monday's $150,000 at Saratoga.

Quest Star ($25) had crossed the wire third in three graded stakes races on the turf earlier this year. However, he had won just one time in 10 starts entering the Hall of Fame. But he unleashed a strong closing charge while bravely cutting between horses to rally from last in the five-horse field and prevail by 1 1/2 lengths.

Union Place finished second, a half-length in front of Patrol.

Chiselling, who won the Lexington Stakes at Belmont Park on July 14, was the 9-5 morning-line favorite, but was scratched by trainer Bobby Frankel, who said Chiselling would instead run in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 17. That left Patrol, who was unbeaten in three grass races this year, as the 3-5 betting favorite.

Patrol, however, broke slowly, then was far too anxious to get back into the race. He motored through fractions of 23.20 seconds, 46.70, and 1:10.98 for the first six furlongs over a turf course rated good. He still led with a furlong to go, but the early pace finally took its toll.

Quest Star, meanwhile, lagged in last for the first six furlongs under jockey Pat Day. He advanced steadily along the rail heading into the homestretch, then knifed between Patrol and Union Place just inside the sixteenth pole. He was timed in 1:49.66 for 1 1/8 miles. The victory in the Grade 3 race was his second in 11 starts; he has finished in the money nine times.

"He's always been kind of a bridesmaid," said Quest Star's trainer, Elliott Walden. "Wherever I put him he's put in a good effort, but he hasn't gotten the job done, so I can't say I thought he'd mow them all down."

Patrol was "awfully rank," said his jockey, Jerry Bailey. "A mile and eighth is about his limit, and he's got to relax to get it."