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Jan 20, 2004

Questing dominates in Alabama


Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - Questing, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., set the pace and was never challenged in winning Saturday's $600,000 Alabama Stakes for three-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Questing broke sharply from the gate and quickly took the lead in the 1 1/4 mile race. Trying to keep up with the pacesetter were Zo Impressive, even-money favorite Grace Hall and In Lingerie with the remainder of the seven horse field trailing.

Questing, owned by Godolphin Racing, continued to lead the field around the final turn as Grace Hall dropped off the pace. Running in second was In Lingerie who separated herself from the rest of the field.

Heading into the stretch Questing opened up her lead and cruised to the wire nine lengths ahead of second-place finisher In Lingerie. Another eight lengths back in third was Via Villaggio followed by Zo Impressive, Grace Hall, Sea Island and Uptown Bertie.

Questing covered the distance in 2:01.29 on a fast track.

Questing was coming off a 4 1/4 length victory in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on July 21. The Alabama is the third straight win for the filly and was worth $360,000.

The daughter of Hard Spun has won four of nine lifetime starts for $674,876.

Following three starts in England to begin her two-year-old campaign, the filly finished fifth in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies behind My Miss Aurelia and Grace Hall. She began 2012 with an allowance win on June 24 at Belmont Park. Ortiz has been aboard Questing in her last three starts.

Questing returned $6.40, $4.40 and $3.50. In Lingerie paid $5.60 and $4.00, and Via Villaggio paid $5.70.

Recent Eclipse Award winners Royal Delta (2011), Blind Luck (2010) and Proud Spell (2008) all won the Alabama.

Preceding the Alabama, Point of Entry, ridden by John Velazquez, took the lead heading into the stretch on his way to winning the $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational. The four-year-old colt covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:26.40 on a firm turf course.

Owned by Phipps Stable, Point of Entry won the Sword Dancer by four lengths and recorded his fourth straight win. The colt, who gave his trainer Shug McGaughey his first win in the race, adds $360,000 to his bank account which now totals $964,490. Point of Entry has won six of 13 career starts.

Point of Entry was reunited with Velazquez after the new Hall of Fame jockey was sidelined with an injury in June. Velazquez won the Sword Dance in 1998 with Cetewayo.

Point of Entry, the 7-5 favorite, paid $4.80, $2.90 and $2.30. Al Khali returned $5.70 and $3.90, and Brilliant Speed paid $3.70 to show.

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