07/16/2009 12:00AM

Last Dance offers nice matchup at Suffolk


A rising star and a returning champ bookend a full field of Massachusetts-breds in the $50,000 Last Dance Stakes at Suffolk Downs on Saturday.

No More Goodbyes proved he's among the leading horses in the region by dominating the Rise Jim Stakes last month by more than seven lengths. He has post 12 and is in search of his fourth straight victory and first around two turns.

Behind him in the Rise Jim was Ask Queenie, who faltered to 10th in the worst performance of her illustrious career. The multiple statebred champion had a troubled trip that day and redeemed herself with a 5o1/2-length victory against females next out in the Isadorable Stakes on July 4. She drew the rail and reunites with Josue Marcano, who replaces a suspended Dyn Panell.

Ask Queenie won this race in 2006 and finished second in 2005 back when the daughter of Key Contender routinely posted Beyer Speed Figures in the mid-80s. It has been two seasons since the now 8-year-old mare has produced numbers like that, but she is 7 for 13 at the mile-and-70-yard distance.

She will need that experience advantage and the right trip to best No More Goodbyes, who has won his three races this year by a combined 15 1/4 lengths - all with 80-something Beyers. The question he must answer for trainer Brenda McCarthy is his ability to carry his speed two-plus furlongs farther than he has ever raced.

The outside post could also be difficult for No More Goodbyes, although McCarthy entered 0-for-25 maiden claimer Mr. Murphy as an entrymate as well as the uncoupled Sundance Richie. The two have the stalls immediately inside No More Goodbyes and could either scratch or drop off the pace.