07/15/2005 11:00PM

Premier Dance captures Middleground Breeders' Cup


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Premier Dance handled the wet track and rallied from off the pace to win the $75,000 Middleground Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park on Saturday. The victory gave leading jockey Cliff Berry a sweep of the two 2-year-old stakes on the card. Earlier on the program he won the $75,000 Silver Spur Breeders' Cup with Hosanna Hit.

Premier Dance ($5.60) broke well in the Middleground, and raced along the rail, settling in about two lengths behind Scoutie and Out Our Way. Those two dueled through an opening quarter in 22.46 seconds and a half-mile in 45.32, while Premier Dance angled to the outside of horses past the quarter pole and rallied, covering six furlongs over a track rated muddy in 1:10.96.

Premier Dance won by a length over Don't Tell Mommy, who was a half-length in front of third-place finisher Out Our Way. Forrest G. finished fourth as the 6-5 favorite in the Middleground.

Premier Dance's win was the first career stakes victory for his trainer, Cody Autrey. Autrey is 25, and is the fifth leading trainer at Lone Star.

"The hardest one to get is the first one, I think," said Autrey.

Autrey trains Premier Dance for Charles Fletcher, who purchased the horse in a private deal following his first career win May 26. Premier Dance earned $45,000 for his win in the Middleground. Overall, he has two wins from four starts for earnings of $61,100. He is a son of Premiership and was bred by Franks Farms.