02/27/2007 12:00AM

Mrs. Queenie won't be hindered by post


CHICAGO - Really, it shouldn't come as heart-stopping news: If you conduct winter horse racing in Chicago, winter might have something to say about how things develop. Hawthorne lost the last third of the third day of its winter-spring meet on Sunday, when snow, ice, and extremely wet conditions forced the halt of racing.

The nominal feature on Sunday's card, an Illinois-bred entry-level allowance race at six furlongs, was lost to the weather, but returns on the Thursday program as race 8. Mrs. Queenie, the likely favorite, was well drawn in the middle of the field Sunday, but landed the outside post in an 11-horse field Thursday. The first thought is that Jerry LaSala, riding first call at the moment for trainer Mike Reavis, will have to hustle Mrs. Queenie into position from the wide post, but a closer look at Mrs. Queenie's form suggests she tends to take care of that herself: In her last four starts, Mrs. Queenie has broken on top and run off to a clear lead by the first call. No change in tactics should be anticipated Thursday.

The other speed horses - and there are several - might be in for trouble given the likely shape of the race, which could either wind up in a Mrs. Queenie runaway, or fall to a closer picking up the pieces. Perhaps the most interesting late-running candidate is Jimmy G's Girl, who had a solid fall at Hawthorne, winning an Illinois-bred maiden race by five lengths Dec.o17 before suffering through a tough trip in her final start last meet.

* Trainer Richard Hazelton said last week that if Star by Design ran well in the Saturday allowance feature here, the horse would come back in the March 17 Hula Chief Stakes. So, expect Star by Design for the Hula Chief. Making his first start since Oct.o20, Star by Design tracked a quick pace and won a third-level allowance by 1 3/4 lengths.

* Terry Houghton topped the jockey standings after the first short week with four wins. Houghton hadn't ridden since mid-December, when he was banned from Tampa Bay Downs because of an ongoing Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau investigation.

* The jockey Randall Toups has moved his tack to Hawthorne, where the agent Randy Romero Jr. will book his mounts.