06/05/2008 11:00PM

Thorn Song gets rest, class drop


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Catching a "good" course in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, Thorn Song appeared poised for a strong effort, since he won last year's Grade 3 River City Handicap over yielding ground on the same course.

But his love of wet footing could not offset a quick turnaround. Racing on slightly more than three weeks' rest following a taxing third-place finish in the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile, Thorn Song weakened after setting the pace to finish sixth, beaten 7 1/2 lengths by the victorious Einstein.

Now that Thorn Song has been given five weeks to recover from that race, trainer Dale Romans expects a return to peak form when the horse races in Sunday's featured eighth race at Churchill Downs, a $50,400 money allowance at a mile on turf.

"He's doing good," Romans said. "So we thought we'd put him in, try to get him a win, and prep for the Firecracker," a Grade 2, $200,000 turf race at Churchill on July 4.

Thorn Song is unquestionably the class of the field, having faced some of the top grass horses in the country this year. Besides his race in the Woodford Reserve against Einstein, his close third in the Maker's Mark came behind Kip Deville, last year's Breeders' Cup Mile winner.

A 5-year-old son of Unbridled's Song, Thorn Song worked a half-mile in a bullet 50 seconds over the Churchill turf course May 27.

Obi Wan Kenobi and Faith's Magic head the opposition. Obi Wan Kenobi won the Tri State Handicap at Ellis Park last year and was fourth against a stakes-quality allowance field at Churchill on May 10. Faith's Magic has won three of his last four starts.

Obi Wan Kenobi appears a likely candidate for improvement following an effort in which he finished 4 1/4 lengths behind Seaside Retreat. That race marked his first start since last fall.

Faith's Magic, meanwhile, will make the third start of his current form cycle, after winning a seven-furlong sprint over Polytrack at Keeneland and a third-level allowance at Churchill on May 21 over A. P. Xcellent, a Grade 1-placed colt, and Dominican, last year's Blue Grass Stakes winner.