01/13/2005 12:00AM

'Marlin' is latest thrill ride for Sarvis

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The roller coaster that Dean Sarvis has ridden in a career that spans nearly two decades has reached perhaps its highest point. The 36-year-old jockey rode five winners Wednesday night at Turfway Park, and with a succession of prime mounts awaiting him through the end of the Turfway meet in early April, he is loving life like never before.

"I'm getting a lot of good opportunities," Sarvis said Thursday from the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, Ky. "A lot of guys are really fighting to get into this kind of spot and get this kind of mounts, so I really appreciate what I have."

Sarvis, who began riding in Maryland in the fall of 1985, won 256 races last year, when he set a record at River Downs for most wins in a meet and also won the Turfway holiday meet title. Sarvis had missed some 4 1/2 years of riding after being suspended in Indiana in November 1998 for possessing an electrical device, and has worked tirelessly to restore his reputation and career since returning to the saddle midway through 2003.

Sarvis will have another opportunity to shine Saturday at Turfway when he rides the likely favorite, Golden Marlin, in the 21st running of the $50,000 Wishing Well Stakes. The six-furlong Wishing Well highlights a 12-race card at the Florence, Ky., track.

Golden Marlin, a 5-year-old mare trained by Greg Foley, has finished second in each of her last four starts, but that luckless streak will be snapped if Sarvis has his way.

"I know Greg has done a great job with her, and it looks like she'll be in a good spot," he said.

In her last start, the Dec. 4 Holiday Inaugural at Turfway, Golden Marlin rallied to finish second, 1 1/4 lengths behind Revolutionary Act who is bypassing the Wishing Well after finishing sixth in the Dec. 31 Chaposa Springs at Calder. Revolutionary Act has won all three career starts at Turfway.

"She came out of the Calder race great, so I seriously thought about the Turfway race," said Pat Huffman, who trains Revolutionary Act. "But my dad [trainer Blackie Huffman] always did well with his fillies by taking his time, so that's what I'm doing."

Besides Golden Marlin, top contenders from the nine other fillies and mares in the Wishing Well appear to be Cahill Holly, Senorita Ziggy, Honourable Asset, and Jinny's Gold.

First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.