06/07/2001 12:00AM

Thistledown: Rematch

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NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - The $50,000, 1 1/16-mile Merry Times Stakes has drawn a full field of 12 Ohio-bred fillies and mares and sets up a rematch between Lady Cherie and Beatmichiganagain.

Under the allowance conditions of the race, Lady Cherie will be the starting highwieght under 122 pounds and will be spotting Beatmichiganagain nine pounds. These two finished a half-length apart under equal weight of 116 pounds in the six-furlong Brents Princess Stakes here May 26 with Beatmichiganagain earning the victory.

Lady Cherie is a proven distance horse and is a multiple stakes winner around two turns and may have an edge on Saturday over her main rival, who will be stretching out around two turns for the first time in her 10-race career. Julio Felix will ride Lady Cherie, who is owned by M.Y. Stables Inc. and trained by Michael Nance.

Beatmichiganagain returned to the races this year after not having raced since 1999, when she was the Ohio-bred 2-year-old champion.

She has won two of her four starts and will likely be the pacesetter. If the 1 1/16 miles is within her scope, she will be difficult to chase down. William Troilo will come up from River Downs to ride for trainer Greg Foley.