ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Single Empire went four-wide into the stretch and staved off Kessem Power by a nose to win Sunday's $250,000 San Luis Rey Stakes at Santa Anita.

Kent Desormeaux, riding his third winner on the card, guided Single Empire over 1 1/2 miles on the turf in 2:27 4-5. The Irish-bred winner paid $11.20, $5.40 and $4.20 in his second start in the United States.

``Boy, when my horse got his legs underneath him and set sail for the target, he put on a kick like the race was only three-quarters of a mile. It was close, but I knew we had won,'' Desormeaux said.

New Zealand-bred Kessem Power, who won the San Luis Rey last year, returned $4.40 and $2.80, while Brazilian-bred Alvo Certo was another 1 3-4 lengths back in third and paid $4 to show.

``I probably would have done better if I got a little traffic, and, when I needed it most, I didn't get it,'' said Michael Kinane, Kessem Power's jockey. ``But when I went for the run, I had to take it. Otherwise, it was going to close down. He really quickened, but you could see he went to idling a little bit.''

The victory, worth $150,000, increased Single Empire's career earnings to $554,113, with four wins in 10 starts.