08/19/2005 12:00AM

Karis Makaw on improve for Distaff


AUBURN, Wash. - Karis Makaw will face her sternest test yet when she takes on eight accomplished rivals in Sunday's $100,000 Emerald Breeders' Cup Distaff at one mile for fillies and mares.

will be seeking her fourth straight score and her third straight stakes win, having prevailed in the one-mile King County and the 1 1/16-mile Boeing in her last two outings. Trainer Bob Meeking feels that Karis Makaw, a 4-year-old daughter of Charismatic with only 10 starts, is coming off her best effort and may be capable of lifting her game to a still higher level on Sunday. Regular rider Ricky Frazier has the mount.

Karis Makaw will share high weight of 121 pounds with northern California invader Secret Corsage, a 4-year-old daughter of Lost Soldier from the barn of trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Secret Corsage is coming off a sharp two-length win in the 1 1/16-mile Alameda County Handicap at Pleasanton on July 4, and will benefit from the riding services of Russell Baze on Sunday.

The sleeper in Sunday's field could be , a front-running sprinter who will be trying two turns for the first time. Strollin Slew seems certain to have the early lead after breaking from the inside post under Debbie Hoonan, and she is bred to stay a route of ground. By the great Seattle Slew and out of a Forty Niner mare, Strollin Slew is trained by Sharon Ross, who wins with nearly 20 percent of her starters going from a sprint to a route.

Among those who would benefit from an especially fast pace is Canadian star Summer Symphony, who came from far back to run second to Karis Makaw in the Boeing. , a 4-year-old daughter of Summer Squall who will be saddled by trainer Grant Forster, won last year's Grade 3 B.C. Oaks at Hastings and is capable of big efforts when given quick fractions to target. Leading rider Kevin Krigger will take over the mount.

Rounding out the field are the Jim Penney-trained duo of Arco Iris and Parioli's Legacy, King County runner-up Ruby Dawn, Canadian invader See Me Through, and Roanaway Bride, the lone 3-year-old in the Distaff.

Parioli's Legacy merits special attention after winning her route debut here in a one-mile optional claiming race Aug. 7. She was previously competitive against tough Southern California allowance company when sprinting on grass.