02/08/2013 10:24AM

Questing, champion 3-year-old filly, retired by Godolphin

Barbara D. Livingston

Questing, who won consecutive Grade 1 stakes last year en route to being voted champion 3-year-old filly, has been retired by Godolphin. The 4-year-old filly had a minor chip successfully removed from a hind ankle earlier this winter but developed a lingering case of pneumonia while preparing for a return to training.

The daughter of Hard Spun out of the stakes-winning Seeking the Gold mare Chercheuse will join the American broodmare band of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, where she will be bred to Darley stallion Bernardini.

Bred in England by Darley, Questing began her racing career in that country and won her career debut before placing in two group stakes, all on turf. She shipped to Kentucky and finished fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs for trainer John Gosden—her first start on dirt—but then returned to turf for her first two starts as a 3-year-old while remaining in the U.S. under Kiaran McLaughlin.

Questing did not perform well in either start, and McLaughlin recommended another start on dirt for the filly before retirement was considered. She responded with a dominant win in an allowance race at Belmont, and followed with back-to-back romps in the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama Stakes, winning the latter by nine lengths over the likes of In Lingerie, Grace Hall, and Zo Impressive. Questing won the 1 1/4-mile race after covering the first six furlongs in 1:09.74, and the way she opened up in the stretch led McLaughlin to compare her to some of the best horses he has ever trained.

“Since I’ve been training, that was one of the most impressive performances I’ve ever had,” McLaughlin remarked. “It was ‘Wow.’ That’s what we all felt.”

Questing closed out her championship campaign by finishing second by a head to My Miss Aurelia in the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes after setting the pace throughout, and then was pulled up in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic, her final start, after suffering an eye injury. She bested My Miss Aurelia, 2011’s champion 2-year-old filly, by four votes (106 to 102) for the Eclipse Award.

Questing won four of 11 career starts and earned $876,876.