01/26/2006 12:00AM

Count on the old veteran to be in the mix

Benoit & Associates
Full Moon Madness, 11, will try for his 18th win Saturday in the Budweiser Handicap at Sunland.

Even at age 11, Full Moon Madness has plenty of oomph and figures to be tough to handle Saturday, when he invades from Southern California to run in the $50,000 Budweiser Handicap at Sunland Park. A five-furlong event, the Budweiser Handicap lured a full field of 12.

He may not be the highweight, but Full Moon Madness has an enviable resume, with 17 wins and earnings of more than $1.2 million. He has shown in his last two races that he has plenty of gas left in the tank, scoring a 3 1/2-length win over $12,500 claimers at Santa Anita on Dec. 29 for trainer Jack Carava, then finishing second, beaten 7 1/4 lengths, against $16,000 claimers there Jan. 14. He was claimed that day by Leonard Duncan, who brings him to this race. Full Moon Madness carries 114 pounds and jockey Ricardo Jaime.

Boots Are Walking may go favored in the Budweiser Handicap. Trained by Steve Asmussen, he was a game second in the KLAQ Handicap here Dec. 3 and then came back for a rallying win over allowance foes here Jan. 3. Boots Are Walking carries 120 pounds as the second highweight and will be ridden by Brian Peck.

The 121-pound co-highweights are The Niner Account and Orphan Brigade. The Niner Account won 4 of 6 starts last year while racing at Lone Star and Remington, including a 2 1/2-length win in an allowance race at Remington on Nov. 25, his last start. He has posted four straight bullet works for the Budweiser Handicap and will be ridden by Cliff Berry.

Orphan Brigade beat The Niner Account in a turf sprint stakes at Remington last summer - finishing second, with The Niner Account third - and then rattled off three straight victories at Remington, Hawthorne, and Zia Park. Orphan Brigade was not a factor in his last two races, including a fifth in the KLAQ Handicap here Dec. 3, but he has plenty of speed. A return to his best makes him dangerous for trainer Robert Brewer. Ricky Frazier rides.

Also in the field are Tough Pilgrim, who has not raced since June 26, when he scored a 2 1/2-length win in the Free Spirits Handicap at Ruidoso; Bang, who comes off a strong optional claiming win here Dec. 21; Devil's Money, who makes his first start since last May but has won three of his last six starts; Dangerous Devon, who comes off a second in the Sunland Fall Derby; and Lorenzon, who won the Premier at Zia in September.