Orphan Brigade Wins $40,000 Littlebitlively at Lone Star Park

(April 22, 2005)- Bret Calhoun did everything he could not to run Orphan Brigade in Friday's $40,000 Littlebitlively Stakes at Lone Star Park, but the 4-year-old gelding proved his trainer wrong with a hard-fought neck victory over 9-5 favorite Savonarola.

Claimed for $40,000 on Valentine's Day by Carl Moore of Arlington, Texas, Orphan Brigade had a tendency to drift wide around turns in previous starts, so Calhoun was concerned about his charge going five furlongs on turf. "It's a mental thing," said Calhoun, whose back-up plan was to enter him into two dirt races this weekend. Those races did not fill so Calhoun left him in Friday's feature. "I tried every way in the world to get him out of this spot."

The result was Oprhan Brigade's eighth win in 22 starts and a $24,000 check to boost his earnings to $189,438. He ran five furlongs on a firm turf course in :57.85 under jockey Cliff Berry and paid $10.80 to win. "Cliff did a great job on him," Calhoun said. "When they straightened up, he put in a gutsy performance."

"Through the turn, he started getting out a little bit," Berry said. "I had a horse on the outside of me that held us in a little. Once he switched to his right lead, the horse really dug in and ran. I didn't need to whip him that much because he was running as hard as he could. I just left him alone and let him do his job."

For Calhoun, it was his ninth victory through seven days of the 67-date Lone Star meeting. "We've had a great start to this meet," said Calhoun, a Grand Prairie native. "It was a pretty cold winter; I felt like they had my head held under water all winter. It's good to get started on the right note here."

ELSEWHERE: Jockey Patrick Boxie was taken to Methodist Hospital in Dallas for observation following a one-horse spill in Friday's eighth race. Boxie was thrown from his mount Balkan when the 6-year-old horse suddenly collapsed nearing the quarter-mile pole. Boxie was alert and conscious, but complained of pain in the left side of his abdomen. He was overheard telling the medical staff, "I'll be okay. I'll be back riding tomorrow."...Jockey Jesus Rodriguez, who subbed for Boxie aboard Sweetalyspleasure in the 10th race, complained of a bruised upper right leg and was taken to First Aid after he was unseated around the final turn. His mount clipped heels with Grey Foot, who finished third but was disqualified to last because of the incident...Trainer Steve Asmussen, who saddled three winners Thursday, added two more Friday with Seadrift ($3.80) in the first race and Saturday Afternoon ($4.80) in the fifth. For Asmussen, it was five straight winners at Lone Star. His streak was snapped with Western Roar's fourth place finish in the Littlebitlively. On Thursday, Asmussen snapped trainer "Bubba" Cascio's record-equaling six-race win streak when 3-year-old filly Gentle Flow debuted with a 4 ¾-length victory over the Cascio-trained Lisa's Gold...Trainer Bruce Jackson, who relocated to Texas from Southern California, rebounded from his second-place finish with favored Savonarola in the Littlebitlively and recorded his first local win with Wanted Man in the ninth...First post Saturday is 1:35 p.m. CT. The ninth running of the $50,000 Wafare Farm Stakes, a six-furlong dash for 3-year-old fillies, is the featured 10th race on the 11-race card.

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