08/12/2010 2:26PM

Ask Queenie shooting for third First Episode


The remarkable career of Ask Queenie continues Saturday at Suffolk Downs when the Massachusetts-bred mare heads the $50,000 First Episode Stakes.

It will be the 9-year-old’s sixth start in the mile and 70-yard race. She’s won the First Episode twice and has never finished out of the money. It is a testament to her career that being 2 for 5 in the First Episode constitutes a weak spot on her extensive r é sum è .

Ask Queenie is 26 for 61 in her career and is the all-time leading Massachusetts-bred filly or mare by earnings with $747,045. She has started in 18 statebred stakes restricted to females, winning 12 of them. Half of her losses against fellow Massachusetts-bred fillies and mares have come in this race.

The distance of the First Episode can’t be blamed. Ask Queenie’s two most impressive career wins have come around two turns, including this race as a 3-year-old in 2005 by 10  1/4 lengths.

Ask Queenie was in a rivalry with the Flirt for Fame from 2006-08 when the two traded victories three years running, with Flirt for Fame winning in 2006 and 2008.

Ask Queenie’s third-place finish in last year’s First Episode might be attributed to the fact she was making her fourth start in five weeks, with two stakes victories coming during that tight span.

Ask Queenie has been almost as busy in recent weeks, as the First Episode will be her fourth race in six weeks, including a win in the July 12 Isadorable Stakes – her fifth in that event – sandwiched between second-place finishes to fellow Mass.-bred old-timer Mr. Meso in the July 3 Rise Jim and the July 24 Last Dance.

There is no Mr. Meso Saturday, but there is the Southoftheborder, who took advantage of Ask Queenie’s demanding summer schedule last year to win the First Episode. Southoftheborder, now 7, will be running in First Episode for the fifth time in her career.

Southoftheborder is the 4-1 second-choice on the morning line behind Ask Queenie, who is 1-2. Southoftheborder’s win in this race in 2009 is her only victory in her last 15 starts, which span 2 1/2 years. It is also the only time she has won and finished ahead of Ask Queenie in 11 attempts.

Ask Queenie is owned by Laurine Barreira and trained by her mother, Lori Lockhart. Southoftheborder is owned and trained by Lori’s father, Lloyd Lockhart.

Should the Lockharts ever release their grip on the statebred stakes program, Tally’s Sundance is waiting in the wings. She was a stakes winner last year as a 3-year-old and was fourth in the Isadorable two starts ago.