The 4-year-old Friends Lake gelding, the 9-2 second favorite, was last of seven with three furlongs to run in the 1 3/4-mile test on Polytrack. He closed steadily into contention from there to collar 7-10 pick Eagle Poise in mid-stretch, then drew clear to a three-length triumph under a hand ride from Gerry Olguin.
Quaesitor covered the distance in 2:59.42, providing Olguin a second stakes win of the weekend, following the rider's victory aboard Paladin Bay
in the Ontario Lassie Stakes Dec. 15 at the Toronto track.
Eagle Poise, winless in two years since taking the 2011 Valedictory, was 3 1/2 lengths in front of third-place finisher Peyton
. The 7-year-old Empire Maker
gelding briefly appeared en route to halting the long winless drought after dispatching front runner Awesome Overture
to lead by 1 1/2 lengths, but he could not turn back the determined rally of Quaesitor.
Quaesitor, winner by a head over Valedictory opponent Turkish
in a Nov. 17 prep going 1 5/8 miles, tallied his third consecutive win from six starts this season and improved on his third-place finish in last year's edition of the Valedictory. Turkish pressed early pacesetter Address Unknown
and briefly took a short lead on the far turn, but he soon yielded to Awesome Overture.
Trained by Ian Howard for Wayward Stable, Quaesitor won a 1 1/2-mile allowance race Aug. 2 prior to his Nov. 17 prep score. His overall career line improved to 6-1-4 from 17 starts with earnings of $455,782. The chestnut was classic-placed last year at Woodbine when he finished third in the Breeders' Stakes.
Bred in Ontario by Gill Howard, Nancy Howard, and Donald Ross, Quaesitor is out of Woodbine stakes winner Questuary, by Archers Bay. He returned mutuels of $11.10, $3.20, and $2.60. Eagle Poise paid $2.40 and $2.10. The 4-1 exactor paid $24.40. Peyton paid $3.70 to show.
Former Central Kentucky sire Friends Lake, winner of the 2004 Florida Derby (gr. I), has 15 stakes winners, including five graded, from six crops racing. The 12-year-old son of A.P. Indy was sold in 2010 to Saudi Arabian interests. He previously stood at Brereton and Libby Jones' Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky.