09/12/2008 12:00AM

Sing Baby Sing on rise


Orphan Brigade and Wind Water have combined to win 33 races and more than $1.2 million in purses, but there is a good chance neither will go favored Sunday in the $150,000 Premier Breeders' Cup at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M. That role should go to the up-and-coming Sing Baby Sing, who in his last start finished a troubled second in the $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap.

Sing Baby Sing is one of seven horses in the Premier, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up that serves as the first Thoroughbred stakes of the Zia meet. He was beaten just three-quarters of a length in the six-furlong Iowa Sprint at Prairie Meadows in his last start June 28. Sing Baby Sing was hung wide in the field of 10, duked it out with another rival for the lead, and was overtaken late by winner Native Ruler.

"It was a pretty tough race," said Jack Bruner, who trains Sing Baby Sing for Tom Durant. "He had to battle pretty hard to get done what he got done."

Sing Baby Sing earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 97, which is the best last-race Beyer in the Premier. He has been preparing for the race at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, and on Friday morning was vanning to Zia. Sing Baby Sing, who is looking for his third stakes win, will break from post 4 under regular rider Justin Shepherd.

Bruner looks for an off-the-pace kind of trip Sunday.

"Against Wind Water, I don't think we have a lot of choice," Bruner said.

Wind Water has exceptional speed. He won three straight races wire to wire between March and May, among them the $50,000 Ford Express at Lone Star Park by a head over Sing Baby Sing. Wind Water is moving back to dirt Sunday after a rare turf start in which he finished fifth in the $50,000 Brother Brown at five furlongs at Remington on Aug. 24.

He did not break well and never made the lead in the Brother Brown. But with the switch to his preferred surface as well as the move to six furlongs, he figures to be prominent under regular rider Ken Tohill. Chris Hartman trains Wind Water, a winner of 16 races and $650,851 who will be making his first start at Zia.

Orphan Brigade is 2 for 4 at Zia, and he won the 2006 running of the Premier. He was second last out in the Brother Brown. Casey Lambert has the mount for trainer Bret Calhoun.