07/12/2007 11:00PM

Possetothemax targets Middleground


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Trainer Steve Asmussen has a pack of Posses in training, and said on Friday that one of the freshman stallion's stakes winners is heading to Lone Star Park. Possetothemax, who in his last start captured the $50,000 Prairie Meadows Gold Juvenile, is being pointed for the $70,000 Middleground Breeders' Cup here July 29.

Possetothemax is one of nine juvenile winners for Posse, who is the nation's leading freshman sire and leading sire of 2-year-olds. Of his nine winners, eight are trained by Asmussen. He also trained Posse, and has enjoyed developing his sons and daughters, among them recent Grade 3 Bashford Manor winner Kodiak Kowboy.

"They're exactly like he was," Asmussen said of Posse's offspring. "They're very durable mentally and physically. They're racehorses. They're just real easy to be around."

Posse was a Grade 2 winner who earned $662,841. He now stands at Vinery in Lexington, Ky.

"The Riva Ridge on Belmont Day, when he ran down Midas Eyes, that was a great race," said Asmussen. "They flew. It was a very good race."

Posse won the 2003 Riva Ridge for Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, the co-owner of Possetothemax, who figures to go favored in the Middleground. Possetothemax won his maiden in his second start, when he set a track record for 4 1/2 furlongs on the Polytrack at Arlington Park on June 2, covering the distance in 51.60 seconds. One start later, he won the Prairie Gold with a career-best Beyer Figure of 88.

The Middleground is one of two closing-weekend stakes here for 2-year-olds. Asmussen said Valid Lilly, who was a 6 1/2-length winner of the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes here last weekend, could make her next start in the $70,000 Silver Spur Breeders' Cup on July 28. Valid Lilly also races for Heiligbrodt.

Asmussen has another recent Lone Star juvenile winner pointing for a stakes. Poni Colada, a son of Volponi, made his career debut here last Sunday in a 7 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on turf and won by 1 1/2 lengths. Asmussen said he will be pointed for the $75,000 Sunny's Halo at a mile on turf at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 18.

Asmussen has been on a roll with his 2-year-olds this year. He has won 44 juvenile races through Thursday, and his 2-year-olds have earned $1,740,584.

Euroears promising for Calhoun

Euroears, a tank of a 3-year-old colt by Langfuhr, impressed in his career debut last Sunday when he won a maiden special weight race by 9 1/2 lengths. He covered the distance in 1:09.60 to earn a Beyer Speed Figure of 89.

"He was idled down the last eighth of a mile the other day," said Bret Calhoun, who trains Euroears. "He looks like a stakes-caliber horse, no doubt."

Euroears is from the mare Unky and Ally, a winner of the Grade 3 Sorority Stakes.

"He's a pretty chestnut," said Calhoun. "I mean, he's a picture. He's gorgeous."

Euroears races for Jim and Marilyn Helzer.

Feature is Mucho Gusto's grass debut

Mucho Gusto, who won a first-level allowance at Oaklawn Park in January, will make his turf debut in Sunday's featured ninth race, a $20,000 optional claimer. The five-furlong race drew a field of 10.

Mucho Gusto will be making his first start since April 1, when he was second by a neck in a $50,000 claiming race at Oaklawn. Asmussen, who had three triples here last week and a double here Thursday night, has given the mount to Luis Quinonez.

Other contenders in the race include Ace Time, who was a maiden winner at five furlongs on turf in April. He has good speed, and draws closer to the rail than Mucho Gusto, who will break from post 9. Ace Time drew post 4 for trainer Mike Mareina.