06/24/2009 11:00PM

No More Goodbyes heir apparent at Suffolk


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - It has been a long and successful reign, but Saturday's $50,000 Rise Jim Stakes at Suffolk Downs should result in a transfer of power in the Massachusetts-bred stakes ranks, when the multiple statebred champion and $627,285 earner Ask Queenie starts her 8-year-old campaign against the 4-year-old No More Goodbyes.

The six-furlong contest is the first of a limited schedule of stakes at Suffolk this season. It's the first chance Ask Queenie has had to race this year because competition is scarce for a horse with 23 victories. Her connections, trainer Lori Lockhart and her daughter, owner Laurine Barriera, say she's still on top of her game despite going 1 for 10 in 2008. Her lone win last year came against males in the Thomas Moran Stakes last October.

But there hasn't been a male with the speed or talent of No More Goodbyes eligible for the Massachusetts-bred program in several years. No More Goodbyes has easily won his two starts in open company this year, both in wire-to-wire fashion, including a 2 1/2-length romp in a field that included last year's New England older male champion, Southern Rainbow.

"Ever since he was a 2-year-old it was clear this was a different kind of horse," said Brenda McCarthy, who trains No More Goodbyes.

McCarthy started off training the homebred for Teresa Horky and Keith Shelansky when the More Than Ready colt was a juvenile. She's back in charge after No More Goodbyes raced 10 times with trainer Wayne Marcoux.

"He's more mature, but he's always been naturally fast and that gives him a really good shot." said McCarthy.

As with Ask Queenie, racing opportunities for No More Goodbyes have been hard to come by.

"After these Mass-bred stakes we would have to look out of town with him," said McCarthy. "He beat some nice allowance horses last time. I'd rather not put that kind of pressure on him yet, so I'm absolutely ecstatic to have these races right now."

Another horse returning to competition off a long layoff in the the Rise Jim is Reprized Strike, who missed the entire 2008 season but won this race in 2006 and Waquoit Stakes in 2007.

Trainer Tim Kirby and his family send out Sultan's Prince, a son of their mare Sultan's Light and full brother to Mass-bred champs Sunlit Ridge and Stylish Sultan. The colt won the Norman Hall Stakes as a 2-year-old and the African Prince Stakes last summer.