Zayat Stables’ Thorn Song will attempt to become the first repeat winner of the Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) when he takes on seven rivals July 4 at Churchill Downs.
The Firecracker will go as the 10th race on the 11-race card. Post time is 5:29 p.m. EDT.
Trained by Dale Romans, Thorn Song went wire-to-wire on a yielding Matt Winn Turf Course last year in defeating Einstein and three others. The victory was the second Firecracker for Romans, who took the race in 2005 with Kitten’s Joy.
Carrying top weight of 123 pounds, Thorn Song will be ridden by Mike Smith and break from post 4 in the $150,000 event. The 6-year-old son of Unbridled's Song--Festal, by Storm Bird, will be conceding from three to nine pounds to his seven rivals.
Thorn Song has posted a record of 20-8-2-2 for earnings of $1,093,711 since moving to the turf in the summer of 2007. Included in the victories are grade I scores in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland last fall and the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park in his most recent start on May 25, in which Smith rode him for the first time.
The second starting high weights at 120 pounds are Circle E Racing’s Mr. Sidney, trained by Bill Mott who won the Firecracker in 1993 with Cleone, and Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu, trained by Greg Fox.
In his most recent turf outing, Mr. Sidney won the Maker’s Mark Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland under Kent Desormeaux, who will have the return mount.
Tizdejavu returned from a nine-month layoff to win an optional claiming turf test on May 17 and ran his record over the Matt Winn Turf Course to a perfect 3-for-3. Jon Court has the riding assignment on Tizdejavu who won the American Turf (gr. IIIT) and Jefferson Cup (gr. IIT) last spring.
$150,000 Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 10, 5:29 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Inca King (KY), S Bridgmohan, 115, S M Asmussen
2. Seaspeak (KY), R Albarado, 118, R E Nicks
3. Wise River (KY), J Theriot, 118, C Hanna
4. Thorn Song (KY), M E Smith, 123, D L Romans
5. Mr. Sidney (KY), K J Desormeaux, 120, W I Mott
6. Passager (FR), J C Jones, 118, R L Attfield
7. Tizdejavu (KY), J K Court, 120, G Fox
8. Artic Cry (KY), C J Lanerie, 114, E Kenneally