04/29/2009 11:00PM

Orphan Brigade still running fast at age 8


The average 8-year-old racehorse does not tend to put up triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. But that's what Orphan Brigade did the last time he ran on dirt, a surface he will return to on Saturday for the $50,000 Route 66 Stakes at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Okla.

The six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up is one of two Thoroughbred stakes on the card.

Orphan Brigade popped a Beyer of 101 back in February, when he won a $50,000 claiming race at Fair Grounds. He covered six furlongs in a quick 1:10.40, winning off by more than five lengths under regular rider Carlos Gonzalez. One start later, Orphan Brigade won a turf sprint allowance at Lone Star Park by more than two lengths, for a Beyer of 91.

"The last two outs, he's won pretty handily, pretty impressively," said Bret Calhoun, who trains Orphan Brigade for Carl Moore. "He's very sharp. He's a horse that doesn't show a lot of emotion, but you can tell right now he's pretty proud of himself. He's really sharp right now."

Another 8-year-old in the field is Rodeo's Castle, a multiple stakes winner of $414,766 who is making his first start since June. The Route 66 also drew Distinguish, who is 4 for 7 at Will Rogers, and Marq French, a multiple stakes winner of $360,706.

w It looks like a battle of speed versus class in the $50,000 Wilma Mankiller, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares. Annie Savoy, who has won her last two starts, is the class of the race with earnings of $299,209. Her task is to run down the rail-drawn Miranda Diane, who earned a field-high Beyer of 102 for her wire-to-wire allowance win at Will Rogers on April 14.

Annie Savoy used closing tactics to win a Will Rogers allowance and the $50,000 JEH Stallion Station Stakes at Lone Star in her last two starts. She could get a nice pace setup in the Wilma Mankiller, thanks to the presence of front-runners Miranda Diane, Reel Sweet Talker, and Strawberry Chase. Floyd Wethey Jr. has the mount Annie Savoy, who is trained by Kari Craddock.

Jockey Nena Matz, who on Thursday was seven wins from career victory 1,000, has the mount on Miranda Diane for trainer Shane Seaton.

Delta: Pair of rich futurities

Delta Downs in Vinton, La., will showcase Louisiana-bred Quarter Horses on Saturday night in the $272,500 Laddie Futurity and the $250,660 Lassie. Both races are restricted Grade 2 stakes. Heza Skippin Fast, who has won all three of his starts, including the Grade 2 Mardi Gras Futurity at Louisiana Downs, heads the Laddie. McM Sheza Fast Cutie was the fastest qualifier for the Lassie for fillies. Bobby Martinez trains both horses, and has given the mounts to Raul Ramirez Jr.

Remington: Four-time champ back

Country Chicks Man will attempt to win the $100,000 Sooner State Stakes for Quarter Horses for the fifth straight time on Saturday night at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. The 8-year-old Country Chicks Man has won the Oklahoma-bred stakes each of the past four years. G.R. Carter Jr. has the mount for trainer Sparky Mullins.