06/16/2005 12:00AM

Sariano could be one to beat


AUBURN, Wash. - Sariano and Karis Makaw will lock horns in Saturday's feature at Emerald Downs, a mile race for older fillies and mares to be run under $32,000 optional claiming conditions.

Sariano may be favored in the field of eight off a pair of strong efforts against stakes company. Sariano, a 4-year-old daughter of Rubiano trained by Steve Bullock, finished with a rush to just miss catching Marva Jean in the six-furlong Hastings Park Handicap on May 8.

Sariano then had to settle for fourth behind the same rival when her stretch bid was stopped by traffic in the June 5 Washington State Legislators Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Karis Makaw ran second in the 1 1/16-mile Kent Handicap and the Washington Oaks last year, but has raced only once at the current meeting. Karis Makaw, a 4-year-old daughter of Charismatic trained by Bob Meeking, ran in a six-furlong optional claiming race on May 14 and tired to finish fourth after contesting the early pace. Karis Makaw has since posted three strong workouts and may be ready to stretch out.

Also dangerous is Strong Faith, who posted a pair of mile wins last winter in northern California. Strong Faith, trained by Roy Lumm, defeated $32,000 starter allowance company going a mile on turf at Bay Meadows in November, and then scored a win over allowance company on March 23, running a muddy mile in 1:37.80 at Bay Meadows.