07/21/2012 6:46PM

Saratoga: Questing runs away with CCA Oaks, is 2 for 2 since being switched to dirt

Barbara D. Livingston
Despite drifting outward in the stretch, Questing had more than enough left to hold off Zo Inpressive (right).

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - After spending the majority of the first  year of her racing career on grass, it is probably safe to say Questing is not likely to return to the turf in the foreseeable future.

Benefitting from a perfectly judged ride by her young jockey, Irad Ortiz Jr., and overcoming a little of her own immaturity through late stretch, Questing became a Grade 1 winner with a convincing 4 1/4-length decision over Zo Impressive in Saturday’s $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. In Lingerie, the 3-2 favorite, finished a non-threatening third.

Questing’s victory was the second straight in the CCA for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Godolphin Stable, who won the race a year ago with It’s Tricky. Questing not only gave her 19-year-old rider the first Grade 1 win of his riding career but first graded stakes victory of any kind.

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Questing broke alertly from the rail but was outsprinted to the front by Yara who set a lively pace of 23.21 seconds and 47.65 for the opening half-mile of the nine-furlong CCA. Ortiz patiently allowed Questing to settle four lengths behind the leader before urging her to closer contention midway down the backstretch. Questing easily drew clear three furlongs from the wire, then increased her advantage despite drifting out badly through the final eighth of a mile.

Zo Impressive took a run at the winner entering the stretch but proved no match while easily best of the others. In Lingerie moved to within easy striking distance after six furlongs but failed to sustain her run.

Questing, who completed the distance in 1:50.30 over a fast but somewhat laboring track, paid $9.80.

“Great story, this filly didn’t run well on the turf twice this year so we switched her to the dirt and now she’s 2 for 2 for us on the dirt,” said McLaughlin. “We’re so proud to have her, and Irad rode an excellent race for a 19-year-old kid.”

McLaughlin said the original plan was to send Questing to the lead from her inside post.

“We thought we were faster than her [Yara] but we told Irad if she wants to go, let her go, and he rode a great race,” said McLaughlin. “She’s still a little green, she drifted out which was a little scary but she crossed the wire first, clearly, so we’ll work on that later.”

matthew_melton More than 1 year ago
Irad deserves a win like this. He is definitely legit
john deksnis More than 1 year ago
There are enough stellar 3 year old fillies still at it this year to fill a big field. And, in the meantime, most of the quality 3 year old males are on the shelf or have been retired already. Interesting... and I wonder if there's a point there... Kudos to Hard Spun, though, who has sired more nice fillies than I can list here. Including Filare l'Oro (a hard-trying 2nd in a G3 yesterday) who might be next to step up.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Questing - she's a very nice filly. She made this win look easy. Her jockey, Irad Ortiz, ran a very smart race on Questing. She was the only horse in the race to take on speedball, Yara. Both Zo Impressive and In Lingerie received questionable rides which left them both on empty when they needed to answer the call of a streaking Questing and they couldn't answer it. Questing drifted out a lot at the end, but lost nothing in doing so, she won very decisively. Good job, Questing. This is a filly to be on the look out for in the future. And to Questing's connections: You've finally found Questing's niche, now keep her on it!
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
Very nice Hard Spun filly with rateable speed.. Bright future from this vantage point.
denali1 More than 1 year ago
I like this filly she drifted out down the stretch and still made it look easy. Very impressive considering its her 3rd start on dirt. Dangerous filly if she stays fit this year.