06/20/2005 11:00PM

Credit Mr. Makah's upset to stretchout


AUBURN, Wash. - Trainer Bonnie Jenne had a simple explanation for Mr. Makah's stunning upset of the heavily favored Sabertooth in Sunday's $75,000 Budweiser Emerald Handicap.

"It was the mile distance," she said.

It must have been. Mr. Makah, a 5-year-old son of Majesterian who races for Bonnie and Wally Jenne's Friendship Stable and Frank McDonald, couldn't get close to Sabertooth sprinting. He finished more than 15 lengths behind Sabertooth when Sabertooth was second to Slewicide Cruise in the six-furlong Seattle Handicap, and he was 9 1/2 lengths behind when Sabertooth set a world record of 1:13 for 6 1/2 furlongs in last month's FSN Handicap.

In fact, on Sunday Mr. Makah was almost as far in arrears - 8 1/2 lengths - after Sabertooth ran six furlongs in 1:09.60. But Mr. Makah was eating up the ground in large chunks. With a furlong remaining, he had only two lengths to make up, and after a mile in 1:35.80 he was 1 1/4 lengths in front - from a perfectly judged ride by Gary Baze.

"There's nobody better than Gary," said Jenne. "The whole key to this horse is that you can't let him creep into the race. You've got to be patient and wait until at least the three-eighths pole to let him run, or he won't have that kick. Gary waited and waited, and he really got the best out of this horse today."

While Mr. Makah ran his best race in earning his first stakes victory on Sunday, Sabertooth did not. Sabertooth can get a mile, as he showed when he won the Grade 3 Longacres Mile in 2002, but at least two factors prevented him from doing so on Sunday.

One probably was the track surface, which had been glib for the entire meeting until last weekend, when it suddenly turned dull and tiring. The other was the way the race unfolded, which led to Sabertooth running his second quarter-mile in a very fast 22.60 seconds.

"They pressed us a little at the start, and we were four wide going into the first turn," said rider Nate Chaves, who has been aboard for all six of Sabertooth's wins. "I had to ask him a little to avoid losing too much ground, but he grabbed the bit and he never really came back to me. Believe me, I would have much rather been two lengths in front than six, but I didn't want to fight him, either. The end result was that we went a little quick the first part of it, and he got a little tired."

A stewards' decision also had a hand in helping Mr. Makah walk away with the $41,250 winner's prize. Mr. Makah drifted in when perhaps 1 1/2 lengths clear of R. Associates at the sixteenth marker, and R. Associates's rider, Kerwin John, steadied his mount. When R. Associates lost by a nose for second to Sabertooth, John claimed foul against Mr. Makah and Baze for taking his path.

The fact that R. Associates was steadied almost certainly did cost him second, but did John truly need to steady him? Baze thought he left John enough room to continue riding and, after an especially long deliberation, the stewards agreed.

Karis Makaw runs to the top

Leadership of the local older filly-and-mare division didn't stay open long. The position was vacated when trainer Frank Lucarelli announced that sprint queen Marva Jean probably wouldn't run in the route stakes on the schedule, but Karis Makaw stepped in to fill the void with an authoritative win in Saturday's one-mile allowance feature.

Karis Makaw, a 4-year-old daughter of Charismatic trained by Bob Meeking, stamped herself as an up-and-comer when she ran second in both the 1 1/16-mile Kent Handicap and the 1 1/8-mile Washington Oaks in her last two starts as a 3-year-old. She disappointed at even money upon her return in a six-furlong sprint on May 14, but she made amends Saturday. Under Ricky Frazier, Karis Makaw moved strongly to take the lead turning for home and won geared down by 4 1/4 lengths over Sariano in 1:38.20.

"She was everything I knew she could be today," Frazier said. "Mr. Meeking had her just right."

Trainer Bob Meeking acknowledged that Karis Makaw has come to hand after training in less than stellar fashion earlier this spring.

"And she really should be better the farther we go," he said.

No Giveaway beats the traffic

Another of last year's stars - No Giveaway - re-emerged in Friday night's 6 1/2-furlong allowance feature for older horses. No Giveway, who won three straight starts at 6 1/2 furlongs here last year as a 3-year-old, flashed through traffic in the final sixteenth under jockey Kevin Krigger to score by three-quarters of a length over Diamond View in 1:15.40.

"You don't see that kind of move through traffic very often," said trainer Grant Forster. "First you've got to have a horse who can do it, then you've got to have a rider who will let him do it. Kevin gave him a heck of a ride."

Forster said No Giveaway will likely come back in a six-furlong overnight handicap July 4, then attempt to stretch out to a mile and beyond.

"He chipped a knee in his only route last year, and that was certainly an excuse," he said. "He's a full brother to Youcan'ttakeme, and as well as she ran going long I think we've got to give him another shot."