04/14/2004 11:00PM

'Lasting' finally set for return

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AUBURN, Wash. - Lasting Code, who ranked as the top 3-year-old filly on the grounds here in 2002, will return in Saturday's allowance feature at Emerald after an absence of 20 months.

The headliner, a 5 1/2-furlong race that drew five, is for older fillies and mares who have not won $22,000 since Sept. 23.

Lasting Code, a Kentucky-bred who races for Jerre Paxton's Northwest Farms, won four stakes in six starts here in 2002. Lasting Code underwent surgery to remove ankle chips after that meeting ended, and Paxton and trainer Bob McMeans decided not to race her as a 4-year-old in order to ensure a complete recovery.

Lasting Code re-entered training this spring and has since logged a string of strong workouts, including a six-furlong drill in 1:12.60 on April 4. McMeans has named Ricky Frazier to ride at 116 pounds.

All four of Lasting Code's opponents will be making their 2004 debuts as well, and two of them - Calldara and Ruby Dawn - have done their best racing around two turns.

Silver Screen Girl has also excelled around two turns, as she did when she won last season's Boeing Handicap at 1 1/16 miles, but she is an accomplished sprinter and ranks as the top threat to Lasting Code.

Marva Jean may be the only member of Saturday's field who is actually at her best sprinting, and rates a chance to upset on that basis. A 4-year-old daughter of West by West, Marva Jean won three sprints at last year's stand, including a pair of victories in optional $50,000 claiming company.