Updated on 08/21/2012 2:56PM

Saratoga: $1 million Cotillion may be Questing's next target

Barbara D. Livingston
Questing received a career-best 106 Beyer Speed Figure for her nine-length win in the Alabama.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he received 52 text messages following Questing’s nine-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga.

“Fifty of them started out with ‘Wow!’ ” McLaughlin said. “That’s what we all felt. Being and doing this all your life to have a performance like that, it was really a wow.”

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 n scoring her nine-length, front-running victory in the Alabama, Questing ascended to the head of the 3-year-old filly division. Earlier in the meet, Questing won the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks by 4 1/4 lengths.

McLaughlin said that Questing would make her next start in the $1 million Cotillion, a race restricted to 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles, at Parx on Sept. 22.

 “It makes the most sense,” said McLaughlin, who also trains the top handicap filly It’s Tricky, who like Questing, is owned by Godolphin Racing.

In the Alabama, Questing ran extremely fast fractions of 22.84 seconds for the quarter, 46.01 for the half, and six furlongs in 1:09.74. Her final clocking of 2:01.29 for 1 1/4 miles was the fastest Alabama since Go For Wand won it in 2:00.80 in 1990. Questing earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 106.

She ducked in and then ducked out in the stretch, mostly shying away from jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.’s whip.

 “When he raised his stick it looked like she ran into it then ran away from it,” McLaughlin said. “After the race she ducked too and it wasn’t all from the stuck but the majority of it is. Obviously, next time we run her it’s don’t pick your stick up unless you have to. We’re not going to say no stick but don’t pick it up and even get ready to use it unless you have to.”

For McLaughlin and Godolphin, it was the third graded stakes victory of the meet. In addition to the two won by Questing, they also won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy with Alpha, who will most likely be the favorite for Saturday’s Travers.

 Trish McLaughlin, Kiaran’s sister-in-law and one of his assistants, had a little message for Alpha Sunday morning.

“I gave Alpha a pat on the nose and said ‘buddy, that filly would have kicked your [butt] on Saturday,” she said.

Zo Impressive slated for surgery

 Zo Impressive, the Alabama fourth-place finisher who suffered a condylar fracture to the cannon bone of her right foreleg, was scheduled to be vanned on Monday to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., where she will have surgery by mid-week.

 “Considering she’s got a condylar fracture, she’s getting around the stall quite well and is comfortable,” trainer Tom Albertrani said. “We’re very, very fortunate it didn’t spiral up the leg. Hopefully, it’ll be a nice clean operation. She might need a couple of screws.”

 While the injury is one that will likely end Zo Impressive’s racing career, no final decision has been made, Albertrani said.

Grace Hall exam shows mucus in lungs

An endoscopic examination performed on Grace Hall on Saturday night revealed that the filly had “a great deal of mucus” in her lungs, which may have helped explain her fifth-place finish behind Questing.

“That didn’t help things, but boy the day was all about Questing,” trainer Tony Dutrow said. “As impressive an Alabama as you’ll see.”

Dutrow said he didn’t know what was next for Grace Hall, though he did not rule out a rematch with Questing in the Cotillion.

 “We’re not saying we won’t do it, but our filly would have to be going into the race as good as she ever has,” Dutrow said.