07/11/2001 11:00PM

Nuclear Assembly's been perfect so far


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Nuclear Assembly, an undefeated colt who set a five-furlong track record when he won a division of last month's Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity, faces a field of well-connected colts, including the Ronny Werner-trained pair of Runaway Choice and Las Devious, in the $100,000 Middleground at Lone Star Park on Saturday.

The 5 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-olds drew eight, including three colts who were supplemented for $5,000 each: Premeditation, a son of Afternoon Deelites owned by Bill Clifton of Behrens fame; Explosive Truth, whose trainer, Cole Norman, is winning races at a 42 percent rate this meet; and Jammer.

Nuclear Assembly, the lone stakes winner in the field, has not made a wrong move in three career starts. He won his May 24 debut by a neck, his trial for the TTA Futurity by 5 1/4 lengths, and the Futurity by a neck in a track record time of 57.41 seconds on June 30.

"I haven't trained him hard to try and build him back up for this race," said trainer Brent Davidson, who has given the mount to Glen Murphy. "I think the colt's going to run a big race. He's getting better all the time."

Premeditation also seems poised to move forward. In his June 9 debut he rolled to a four-length win, then came back and worked five furlongs in 58.80 seconds July 6. "I think he's on his toes," said trainer Bill Leach, who has given the mount to Curt Bourque. "I don't know how we can get him much better."

Werner has done some things to make Runaway Choice better. For his third career start, the colt, a maiden winner at Keeneland who last out was sixth in the Three Chimneys Juvenile, will race in a prong bit, and add blinkers. "He kind of wants to get a little wide on the turn, so we put a different bit on him, and he's been taking the turn really good," said Werner, who has given the mount to Cliff Berry.

Runaway Choice races for Tom Durant, whose 2-year-olds - all trained by Werner - won a handful of maiden races this spring at Keeneland, as well as two major juvenile stakes at Churchill Downs, the Three Chimneys and the Bashford Manor.

Explosive Truth adds more depth to the Middleground. In his debut he was fifth to Premeditation while racing green, then came back and romped by 10 1/2 lengths in a maiden race June 27. "I look for him to improve off that race," said Norman, who has given the mount to Anthony Lovato. "He's getting racing on his mind."