08/27/2008 12:00AM

Emerald Downs: Top two stretch out for rematch

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AUBURN, Wash. - Tillman's Image and Split the Check, the one-two finishers in a 6 1/2-furlong race here on Aug. 15, will meet again, this time at a mile, in Friday's Emerald Downs feature.

The race is for older $12,500 claimers that have not won two races against winners, and it drew a field of six.

Tillman's Image, a 4-year-old from the barn of Howard Belvoir, came from last place in a field of eight to defeat Split the Check by a half-length in 1:16.40 in the Aug.o15 race, and he should not be disadvantaged by Friday's added distance.

Tillman's Image ran third in both of his starts at a mile last year, both races at the $17,500 level. Seth Martinez, who rode Tillman's Image for his Aug. 15 victory, again has the mount.

Split the Check is the only entrant with a win at a mile. Split the Check, a 4-year-old Swiss Yodeler gelding trained by Chris Stenslie, defeated $7,500 rivals at a mile on July 12. He then lost by a nose when going a mile in $12,500 company on Aug. 2, outfinishing three of his Friday opponents in that race. Regular rider Juan Gutierrez retains the mount.

The wild card in the field is Rhythm to Run, who is dropping after running fourth to $17,500 rivals in a 6 1/2-furlong race on Aug. 8. Rhythm to Run has only a third to show from four prior starts at a mile on dirt, but he has never run this low on the claiming ladder, and he should appreciate the class relief.