07/04/2008 12:00AM

Thorn Song uncatchable

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The 2008 spring meet at Churchill Downs already was a great one for Kent Desormeaux. After all, he won the Kentucky Derby for the third time when guiding Big Brown to a smashing victory in the 134th running on May 3.

Desormeaux was out of here afterward, returning to New York to ride regularly at Belmont Park. But he returned on two subsequent occasions, most recently on Friday, when he gave Thorn Song a crafty ride to upset heavily favored Einstein in the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Thorn Song ($5.60) led throughout the one-mile turf race, edging clear in midstretch before having enough left to hold off Einstein by a length. Thorn Song completed a mile in 1:36.69 over a yielding course.

"Kent rode a great race," said Dale Romans, who trains Thorn Song for the Zayat Stables. "But it takes a really good horse to beat this horse going a mile."

After A.P. Xcellent and Inca King were scratched early, only five older horses were left to contest the $213,250 Firecracker. Desormeaux took full advantage of a lack of challenging pace when he got Thorn Song to set fractions of 23.79 seconds, 47.50, and 1:11.98. By the top of the stretch, after turning back Faith's Magic, Thorn Song suddenly spurted clear while Einstein, the 1-2 favorite under Robby Albarado, was shaking loose to make a too-late rally.

Steve's Double launched a mild outside run to take third from Faith's Magic, a half-length behind Einstein. Portuga trailed throughout after dwelling at the start.

Thorn Song will ship soon with a sizable string of Romans's horses to Saratoga, where he will run in a race yet to be determined. A 5-year-old roan by Unbridled's Song, Thorn Song was posting his second victory in a graded turf stakes at Churchill in a little more than seven months, having won the Grade 3 River City Handicap over a yielding course in the fall. He earned $135,780 and now has a bankroll of $517,981.

Einstein will race next in the Aug. 9 Arlington Million.