07/24/2008 11:00PM

Calhoun pair bring class, speed


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Trainer Bret Calhoun has both the class horse and the speed horse in the $75,000 Middleground Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park on Sunday. He will be represented by Early Final, the lone stakes winner in the field, and Tres Dangereux, who owns the best Beyer Speed Figure.

Both horses figure to start as top contenders in the Middleground, a six-furlong race for 2-year-olds that closes out the meet at Lone Star.

Early Final is looking for his second straight stakes win. He captured the $125,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Lone Star in his last start July 12, one race after a wire-to-wire maiden win here May 29. He earned a career-best Beyer of 77 in the Texas Stallion Stakes.

"He stalked and pounced the other day," Calhoun said. "He looks like he's kind of thriving, sitting off of it a little."

Tres Dangereux won a maiden special weight at Lone Star in his last start July 10. He set a strong pace and went on to a five-length win that day, earning an 81 Beyer.

"He just kind of took it to them," said Calhoun, who trains Tres Dangereux for Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch.

Tres Dangereux began his career in May with a fourth-place finish in a trial race to Lyin' Heart, who went on to win the $100,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity. Bobby Walker Jr. has the mount on Tres Dangereux, who is a front-running threat from post 3.

Early Final drew post 11 and will attempt to give Calhoun and his owner and breeder, Clarence Scharbauer Jr., their second straight win in the Middleground. They captured the race last year with Gold Coyote. Cliff Berry has the mount on Early Final, whose dam, First Final, was a stakes winner at 2.

Others of interest in the field Sunday include Supreme Secret, the runner-up to Early Final in the Texas Stallion Stakes. He is part of a Tom Durant-owned entry with Jolie Streets, who was a smart-looking maiden winner here July 6. Justin Shepherd has been named on both halves of the entry by trainer Jack Bruner.

Club Tejano, a sharp-looking debut winner on July 5, and King Gulch, a son of Gulch and the stakes-winning mare Parade Queen, both represent the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen.