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Marva Jean retires

June 13, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Michael Costanzo
June 11 - When the gate opened for Sunday's Washington State Legislators Stakes at Emerald Downs, one notable member of the filly and mare sprint division was missing. "Marvelous" Marva Jean, last year's winner of the race, has been retired. The mare ended her thrilling race career with $144,520 in earnings, three consecutive stakes victories in 2005, and a 7-4-5 record from 31 starts.

The premier sprinter, trained by Frank Lucarelli and owned by Chris and Dianna Randall of Bellevue, ran twice at Emerald this year, finishing fourth in an allowance April 22 and sixth in the Hastings Park Handicap, which she won in 2005.

"We decided there wasn't a lot more for her to prove," Randall said. "So we thought it would be nice to leave her at the farm and breed her next spring."

The 6-year-old daughter of West by West will be Randall's first brood mare. Marva Jean was also the first horse Randall bought from the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders' summer sale, paying $12,500 for her. She was bred by Mahlum Thoroughbreds of Missoula, Montana.

"Frank (Lucarelli) had done the preparation the week before and picked her out," Randall said. "She showed good speed and a lot of potential as a 2-year-old."

Marva Jean finished second in her first start June 9, 2002 in the $35,000 Pierce County Handicap at a distance of 5 furlongs. The mare's best year was 2005 when she won four races including three straight stakes - the Hastings Park Handicap, the Washington State Legislators and the Betsy Ross Handicap.

Lucarelli said Marva Jean was "as good as any sprinter I've trained. She could rate, but she was much more successful when we let her run."

One of the many highlights of Marva Jean's racing career was her win in the Hastings Park Handicap on Mother's Day last season when Randall's mother was at the track. Marva Jean was named after Randall's mother.

"Marva has never run in a claiming race," Randall said. "She's the best horse I've ever had." Marva Jean is currently living at Jones Farm in Renton.

Randall has owned and raced horses for all 10 years Emerald Downs has been open. He currently has a stable of 20 horses, all trained by Lucarelli.