Race of the Week 2017

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Zipse At The Track

ZATT’s Star of the Week, is … Questing!

Questing and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. winning the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama at Saratoga Race Course.
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
On a day filled with big races and big performances, one young filly stood above all the rest, earning her the distinction of being named ZATT’s Star of the Week. In a division desperately looking for someone to step up and take control, Questing did that yesterday and then some. With a jaw-dropping display of talent, she has rocketed to the top of the three-year-old filly division about as fast as she zoomed to the lead in yesterday’s Grade 1 Alabama Stakes

Along with the Kentucky Oaks, the historic race at Saratoga is one of the two most important races for the three-year-old fillies. As such, it is not supposed to be as easy as Questing made it look yesterday. A solid second choice behind Grace Hall, the daughter of Hard Spun took only a few strides, after a little bumping out of the gate, to seize the lead under rider, Irad Ortiz, Jr. Setting down sprint-like fractions of 22.84 seconds for the quarter-mile and 46.01 for the half, Questing never looked in danger of tiring as Grace Hall and Zo Impressive tracked in second and third. Third choice, In Lingerie made a move from the outside on the far turn as the leader hit six furlongs in 1:09.74, but Questing would quickly repel any challenges of superiority on this day. Despite weaving quite a bit down the lane for the second consecutive race, she continued to pull away and hit the wire a full nine lengths clear of In Lingerie, who easily proved second best.
Further proof of the quality of the performance can be found in the final time of 2:01.29 for the ten furlongs. The time is the fastest Alabama for more than 20 years, since Go For Wand in 1990, and faster than any running of the Travers since 1992. 

In a post-race statement that was both bold and at the same time probably just stating the obvious, winning trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin said after the race, “She’s definitely the best 3-year-old filly in America on the dirt.” 

Taking a look at her record on dirt it would be hard to argue with her proud trainer. After running five of her first six races on the grass, with her only previous dirt race resulting in a traffic marred fifth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, the Godolphin owned miss was brought back to the dirt just two months ago. The switch of surfaces paid off immediately as she easily accounted for a fast optional-claiming affair on June 24 at Belmont Park, and then rolled to an impressive 4 ¼ length victory in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks four weeks ago at Saratoga. 

Yesterday’s big win not only made Questing the first two-time grade 1 winner at Saratoga of 2012, but it also managed to overshadow other strong performances of the day by the likes of Little Mike, Point of Entry, and Lady of Shamrock, and made my decision for Star of the Week an easy one. I honestly can’t wait to see what she does next.


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Older Comments about ZATT’s Star of the Week, is … Questing!...

I read it in an article on either bloodhorse or drf not to use the whip unless needed in her NEXT race.
Not just the star of the week but the star of the meet to this point. A difficult horse to ride as she wants her head in order to relax , if you grab her up Im sure she would fight you. I have been on a few like this, they can give you a really uneasy feeling.
I'm still trying to push my jaw shut. To run those fractions and then draw away easily. She was not tired. She shied from the whip. She bounced back to the barn.
  • bellesforever1 · When you watch the head on you can clearly see her shying from the whip..she does not like it and Irad was told about it in an interview I saw with Kiaren.In Europe they do not use the whip like we do here so she is not used to it and doesn't need it..Irad could have been sitting on his butt looking at hers. · 1982 days ago
you were PRIVY to the jokceys instructions? YOU were down in the paddock listening to him??? Come on now what a load of fantasy.
She was clearly reacting to the whip when she was swerving around, her jockey was given instructions not to whip her unless truly needed in her next race
I was thinking the same thing Travel Vic..
  • bronzeprincess33 · She ducked out because she didn't like the whip, not because she was tired. · 1982 days ago
  • edgaropena · Can you provide evidence she does not like the whip? Because those fractions she did were super fast. Lastly, props to Godolphin racing, their passion for the modern thoroughbred is very inspirational. · 1982 days ago
She'll win the BC...
Considering that time, bsf, and performance, is Questing likely for the BC Classic?
this one could barely run a straight line late....Predict a huge bounce IF this one races in the next 6 weeks.
That was a strong field that Questing destroyed yesterday with five of the horses having graded stakes wins including two other G1 winners. BSF of 106!
thought she was really impressive, but I have to go with Little Mike. the little engine that could just keeps mowing them down. in fact, I might even have to go with Ramon Dominguez for the absolutely masterful ride he provided as the Star of the Week

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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