11/20/2012 5:08PM

Questing has chip removed; to race in 2013

Barbara D. Livingston
Questing had a chip removed from a hind ankle, but will return to race as a 4-year-old next season.

Questing, who was pulled up in the early stages of the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, had a chip removed from a hind ankle, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Tuesday.

McLaughlin, who did not think the chip was a factor in Questing’s non-effort in the Ladies’ Classic, said Questing will race as a 4-year-old in 2013.

Questing, a leading contender for the 3-year-old filly championship based on her wins in the Alabama and Coaching Club American Oaks, will recuperate in Lexington, Ky., before rejoining McLaughlin’s stable in south Florida during the winter. McLaughlin said Questing could be ready to return to the races during the Belmont spring meeting.

Meanwhile, McLaughlin’s other top 3-year-old filly, Dance Card, will make her graded stakes debut in Saturday’s Grade 1 Gazelle at Aqueduct.

Dance Card, a $750,000 2-year-old in training purchase, didn’t make it to the races until May of her 3-year-old season, finishing second to Book Review. Since then, Dance Card has reeled off three consecutive victories, including a 7 1/2-length romp in the Belle Cherie Stakes going 1 1/16 miles at Belmont on Sept. 23.

McLaughlin believes Dance Card can be as good as Questing.

“Absolutely,” he said Tuesday at Belmont. “Fabulous mover, very talented filly.”

McLaughlin said Dance Card had worked a furlong in 9.80 seconds preparing for the 2011 Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old auction.

Shortly after McLaughlin got the horse, he noticed she was off behind and sent her to the farm.

“She pulled up funny behind one day, and we decided to send her home,” McLaughlin said. “She just got more time off, not because of the injury, but for whatever reason. She’s been great ever since she came back.”

In an allowance win at Saratoga and the Belle Cherie, Dance Card did drift out in the stretch.

“I was more concerned than the jockey,” said McLaughlin, referring to Ramon Dominguez. “He said, ‘She’s fine, don’t worry about it, she just drifted out.’ ”

Others expected for the Gazelle, run at 1 1/8 miles, are Book Review, Jemima’s Pearl, Morrow Cove, My Wandy’s Girl, Open Water, and Sea Island.