09/06/2001 12:00AM

Nuclear Assembly versatile and improving

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Nuclear Assembly seems to be getting better with each race. Known for his front-running ways, Nuclear Assembly showed a new dimension in his last start when he won from off the pace. His newfound running style and 4-for-5 record make him the one to beat Saturday in the $40,000 Minstrel at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La.

The six-furlong race drew a field of eight 2-year-olds, and is the track's second leg of a three-race series for 2-year-olds that culminates with the $75,000 Sport of Kings Futurity on Sept. 29. Nuclear Assembly won the first leg of the series last month with a neck victory in the $40,000 Pioneer. He has remained sharp since that race, working three furlongs in 36.60 seconds, handily, on Tuesday.

"He had a real good workout the other morning," said trainer Brent Davidson, who won a division of the $150,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity in June with Nuclear Assembly. "He's doing perfect."

Glen Murphy has the mount Saturday.

Dekalv, an eight-length maiden winner looking to rebound from a seventh-place finish in the Pioneer, could be a threat to Nuclear Assembly. Dekalv, who is out of a half-sister to speedy graded stakes winners Lets Dont Fight, Fight Over, and Fuzzy, worked a bullet five furlongs in 58 seconds in his final prep for the Minstrel for trainer Andrew Ney.

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