08/11/2012 3:43PM

Saratoga: McLaughlin duo get in workouts despite weather

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Barbara D. Livingston
Questing worked four furlongs Saturday in preparation for the Alabama.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – With no workouts whatsoever over a soggy main track and limited activity on the Oklahoma training strip, the focus of attention here Saturday morning was at the Greentree training center, where it was business as usual despite all the rain that inundated the local area on Friday.

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Despite the inclement weather, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was able to work his two top fillies, Questing and It’s Tricky, over Greentree’s synthetic surface on Saturday. Questing, winner of the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks earlier in the meet, is prepping for next Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama, while It’s Tricky is expected to return in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign on Aug. 26.

Questing was the first of the McLaughlin duo to go, working four furlongs in 47.54 seconds, completing her final quarter in an eye-catching 22.77 while traveling easily to the wire.

“She worked great,” said McLaughlin. “We’re very privileged to have this track to train on. Even with the rain it always stays in great shape, and it takes a lot of stress off of us, because we don’t have to worry about the weather. We just don’t always work everything back here, but she’s always trained back here, and so has It’s Tricky.”

Questing, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., drifted during the latter stages of her four-length victory in the CCA Oaks, but McLaughlin said he’s not concerned coming into the Alabama.

“I think it was just a matter of a 19-year-old jockey getting excited and kept hitting left-handed,” said McLaughlin. “He was excited, we were four lengths clear, it’s no big deal. We talked about it afterwards, and I’m not worried about it happening again.”

It’s Tricky breezed about 90 minutes later, going five furlongs in company with regular workmate Villanesca in 1:00.31. It’s Tricky was a little aggressive coming to the pole, starting off about a half-length in front of her partner, but had to take back a bit when she encountered a quartet of geese on the racetrack nearing the half-mile pole. But she readily pulled several lengths clear of Villanesca under some mild urging nearing the finish line.

“She worked very well, again,” said McLaughlin. “She’s always a little aggressive. She’s working weekly, all systems are go, and we’re pleased. We like to put her in company because it assures she’ll get a good work out of it. There’s going to be a little time between her starts so we’re not having any maintenance works, we’re having to train her a little bit.”

It’s Tricky, who is perfect in three starts this year, has not started since winning the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont on May 28.