05/12/2005 12:00AM

'Karis' has top figure of bunch


AUBURN, Wash. - Karis Makaw will make her 4-year-old debut in Saturday's six-furlong feature at Emerald Downs, a $40,000 optional claiming affair that has drawn a field of seven older fillies and mares.

Karis Makaw, a daughter of Charismatic, ranked among the top 3-year-old fillies at Emerald last season, when she finished second in both the 1 1/16-mile Kent Handicap and the 1 1/8-mile Washington Breeders' Cup Oaks. She also demonstrated an affinity for sprinting by defeating maiden special weight company at five furlongs and besting allowance rivals at six furlongs. In the allowance victory, Karis Makaw got the distance in 1:08.60 to earn a Beyer Speed Figure of 90, easily the top figure registered by any in Saturday's feature.

Trainer Bob Meeking was not particularly enthused about the way Karis Makaw was training until she drilled six furlongs in 1:12.60 on May 1 and five furlongs in 58 seconds on May 7.

Karis Makaw, who is likely to be favored, will be challenged by a pair of sharp recent winners in Sassy Little Sarah and Luke's Finest. Sassy Little Sarah comes off a front-running score over $25,000 rivals on April 29, when she got 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03 to win by nearly five lengths. It was the seventh win from 24 starts for the 5-year-old Sassy Little Sarah, who is trained by Tom Wenzel.

Luke's Finest won her last start over allowance rivals at Turf Paradise on March 29, when she got a mile on the turf in 1:39.80.