12/20/2008 12:00AM

Orphan Brigade goes for two in a row


NEW ORLEANS - When he goes forward in Sunday's 10th race, 7-year-old Orphan Brigade will be making his 31st start for trainer Bret Calhoun. The partnership has taken them to eight tracks, spanned nearly four years, and involved a trial separation that did not last.

Calhoun claimed Orphan Brigade on Valentine's Day 2005 for $40,000. They had a great 2005 together, winning three races and finishing in the money eight of nine times.

In October 2005, Calhoun arranged a private sale for Orphan Brigade. He raced well for the new ownership before Calhoun arranged to have him repurchased in early 2007.

"We claimed him off of Tom Amoss, and he won some races for us, then we sold him for a nice price," Calhoun said. "Those people did well with him, and then we bought him back for less."

He has been back in Calhoun's barn since and won six more races from 21 starts, and he has earned more than $90,000 in 2008.

Sunday's race is a fourth-level optional claiming race going six furlongs on the main track for a purse of $48,000. Orphan Birgade will race for the $75,000 claiming price and looks well placed in this field of eight.

His last race was a reversal of recent form, as he went gate to wire Nov. 21 in a $50,000 claiming race at Fair Grounds. His last two races before that one had been fifth-place finishes in stakes races at Zia Park.

"He didn't like the surface at Zia this year and he's always run well over the Fair Grounds," Calhoun said. "It's a very good group of horses in here, but he fits with these."

The field includes Success Success, who comes into this after finishing third in the Bet on Sunshine at Churchill Downs on Nov. 22.

"He's coming out of a tough race, but the conditions hit him right over the head," trainer Paul McGee said. "He comes with that big closing run in these sprints."

Amoss brings two horses into the race. Outta Tune was claimed by Amoss for $40,000 two races ago and came back to win for him in his first race back. He steps up into older company for the first time.

"It's a let's-see-what-kind-of-a-horse-we-have race for him," Amoss said.

Amoss's other entry, Truelyonbroadway, had a win over the Fair Grounds main track last winter but hasn't returned to his old form.