08/21/2007 11:00PM

Immigration takes drop into sprint


AUBURN, Wash. - Immigration drops from the stakes ranks to head Friday's six furlong feature at Emerald Downs, a $32,000 optional claiming affair that has drawn a field of five 3-year-olds.

Immigration, a son of Delineator from the barn of trainer Howard Belvoir, was the top 2-year-old on the grounds last season when he won 4 of 5 starts, including three sprint stakes. He is winless in three starts at 3, but he posted good seconds in both the six-furlong Auburn Stakes and the 6 1/2-furlong Pepsi Cola Handicap. In his most recent outing on July 1, Immigration showed the way in the one-mile Tacoma Handicap before tiring to finish fifth, beaten four lengths by Wild Cycle. He should appreciate both the drop in class and the cutback in distance. He will be ridden by regular rider Jennifer Whitaker.

Immigration figures to be challenged early by Fathoms Revenge, a wire-to-wire winner of 2 of his 3 starts. Fathoms Revenge, a son of Snowbound who is trained by Tom Wenzel, led maiden special weight company through 5 1/2 furlongs in a very fast 1:01.60 on July 8, then came back to down first-level allowance rivals on Aug. 5 with six furlongs in 1:09.20. Juan Gutierrez, up for both of those scores, again has the mount.

Freetoleave and Fort Yates, the fourth- and sixth-place finishers when last seen in the Tacoma, and Liberty for Al, an allowance winner at six furlongs here in May, figure to be trying to close ground from off the pace.