River City H. (gr. III)

(gr. IIIT , 9f ,)

THORN SONG (GR/RO h, 116 lb) $133,940
Unbridled's Song —Festal , by Storm Bird
B—Taylor Made Farm Inc, KY.; O—Zayat Stables, LLC; T—Dale L. Romans

Cosmonaut (GR/RO h, 122 lb) $43,206
Lemon Drop Kid —Cosmic Fire , by Capote
B—Patricia Pavlish, KY.; O—Flying Zee Stable; T—Carlos F. Martin

Gun Salute (B g, 115 lb) $21,603
Military —Hail Roberta , by Roberto
B—Brant Laue, KY.; O—Brant Laue; T—William I. Mott

Margins: ½, 2, 1½. Others: Barastraight (GB) 114($10,801) , Skipped Bail 117($6,480) , Yate's Black Cat 116($2,274) , Big Prairie 117($2,274) , Brego 114($2,274) , Ra Der Dean 114($2,274) , Ascertain (IRE) 118($2,274) . Winning Jockey, Kent J. Desormeaux.

Thorn Song, winner of the Nov. 23 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs as the 7-1 fourth choice, has found his calling on the turf. Floundering along as a maiden through seven starts, he broke through to the winning column in his turf debut June 13 under the Twin Spires. Just more than five months later he got his first stakes win against a tough graded group over the same course.

“He was disappointing us in his races on the dirt,” said trainer Dale Romans. “When we switched him over to the grass, he just became a different horse. I know he is tough and he has a lot of stamina.”

Thorn Song now has a record of 4-2-0 from six starts on grass and came back to Churchill Downs off a runner-up effort in the Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct.

“This horse is a grinder,” said winning rider Kent Desormeaux. “A slow, deep, tasking turf course is good for him.”

Thorn Song’s win in the nine-furlong River City came over a course labeled “yielding.”

Thorn Song races for Zayat Stables, headed by Egyptian beverage mogul Ahmed Zayat. Thorn Song’s victory marked the sixth graded stakes win for the stable and the seventh came the following day in New York when the 2-year-old filly Mushka won the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct. The fifth came Nov. 22 when Massive Drama won the Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III).

Bred by Pinnacle Racing and Taylor Made Farm, Thorn Song was sold at auction first as a yearling during the opening session of the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale for $160,000 to Mike Ryan, agent, from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent. The following May, Zayat paid $200,000 for Thorn Song from Niall Brennan Stables, agent’s consignment at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale in Timonium, Md.

The River City winner is out of the Storm Bird mare Festal, who delivered a colt by Roman Ruler April 21. Festal is out of Fiesta Lady, a daughter of Secretariat who won the Matron (gr. I) and a division of the Del Mar Debutante (gr. II) as a 2-year-old in 1984 for Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Klein and trainer D. Wayne Lukas. She ran seventh in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).

Unbridled’s Song, sire of Thorn Song, is the sire of 59 stakes winners and has 12 added-money winners this year including additional graded winners Octave (gr. I), Political Force (gr. I), Half Ours (gr. II), and Silent Roar (gr. IIIT). The 14-year-old son of Unbridled stands at the Taylor family’s Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Ky. His 2008 fee will be $150,000. —E.I.H.