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Questing Leaves McLaughlin Speechless

Questing and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. winning the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama at Saratoga Race Course.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was still aglow this morning on the heels of Questing’s dazzling nine-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama, which earned the 3-year-old Godolphin filly a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 106.


“Since I’ve been training, that was one of the most impressive performances I’ve ever had,” said McLaughlin. “We won by 20 lengths in Dubai years ago with a horse named Key of Luck. Cigar ran 30 minutes later, we ran 1 ¼ miles on the dirt faster than Cigar did. That was the most impressive, or on the same level. It was like Questing went out in the morning and went 1 ¼ miles on her own.”


The victory was the third straight on dirt for the British-bred daughter of Hard Spun, who began her career on the turf in England.


“It could help us trainers in America, because maybe they’ll leave more Hard Spuns here,” said McLaughlin. “Most of the Hard Spuns went to Europe because he’s a son of Danzig . For her, I think the dirt has been a big help because she pulls hard. And pulling on the turf doesn’t work, usually. But this was unbelievable.”


Questing, who drifted out in the stretch when she won the Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks on July 21, took an erratic path through the stretch in Saturday’s race. McLaughlin said future instructions to jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. would likely be to not touch her with the whip “unless you have to.”


After speaking with Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford, McLaughlin said the Grade 2 Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies at Parx Racing on September 22 could be the next logical spot for Questing as they mull options in New York for multiple Grade 1 winner It’s Tricky and recent allowance winner Dance Card that could include the Grade 1 Beldame Invitational for fillies and mares on September 29 at Belmont Park.


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