08/06/2002 11:00PM

Little Lolitta tries to fill big shoes

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EDMONTON, Alberta - The story of Friday's $40,000 Madamoiselle for older fillies and mares at Northlands Park is as much about who isn't in the race as it is about who is.

After a lengthy layoff, it had been expected that Alberta's 2001 champion older mare, Northern Neechitoo, would make her seasonal debut in the Madamoiselle.

But when entries were taken Monday, Northern Neechitoo was not among the seven entrants for the 1 1/16 mile feature.

But there will still be some familiar names in the starting gate. Leading the way is Little Lolitta, who will carry highweight of 119 pounds and is looking to regain the form that saw her join Northern Neechitoo as a provincial champion last year when she was named the top 3-year-old filly and top Alberta-bred.

In her last start, the $40,000 John Patrick on July 19, Little Lolitta finished a distant second, beaten 7 1/4 lengths.

The winner there was Full Scream Ahead, a British Columbia-bred who shipped here from Hastings Park and hammered the field in her first Alberta start.

Despite the convincing loss in her last trip, Little Lolitta's trainer Don Gilkyson isn't going to change his strategy. A 4-year-old filly, Little Lolitta is expected to part of an early speed battle duel with stablemate Slewability close by. Jockey Perry Winters was named on both horses.

Based on her last performance, Full Scream Ahead, who is the oldest horse in the race at age 6, is the morning-line favorite and has to be considered the one to beat.

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