04/20/2006 12:00AM

Marva Jean dangerous off layoff

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AUBURN, Wash. - Local sprint champion Marva Jean will have them playing her game when she tops a field of 10 stakes-quality fillies and mares in Saturday's feature at Emerald Downs, a 5 1/2-furlong optional $40,000 claimer with a purse of $20,000.

Marva Jean was named the top sprinter at last year's meet after winning her first four outings of the season, including a trio of stakes. Marva Jean, a 6-year-old, tailed off after her hot beginning and ended her 2005 campaign with four straight losses, including a pair at Turf Paradise. She has trained extremely well for her return to action, however, and she has a history of firing when fresh.

Marva Jean figures to get a stern challenge from Karis Makaw, who was honored as the top older filly or mare at last year's meeting. Karis Makaw won the King County Handicap at a mile and the Boeing Handicap at 1 1/16 miles, and ran second to the invading Secret Corsage in the $100,000 Emerald BC Distaff at a mile. She is not as accomplished at sprint distances, but is full of quality and must be respected under Kevin Radke.