06/07/2005 11:00PM

Premier Dance, just sold, heads futurity

Email

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Premier Dance, the favorite for Saturday's colts and geldings division of the $150,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity at Lone Star Park, has been sold. Premier Dance was purchased for an undisclosed sum by Charles Fletcher, according to the colt's new trainer, Cody Autrey.

Autrey also said that Eddie Martin Jr. has the mount on Premier Dance. Martin was aboard Premier Dance for his previous connections, owner Bobby Beck and trainer Bret Calhoun, on May 26, when the colt ran the fastest five furlongs of three trial races for the TTA Sales Futurity. He covered the distance in 56.68 seconds, winning by 5 1/4 lengths and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 83.

"The horse is doing great and he'll be very, very difficult to outrun in the finals," said Calhoun.

Autrey, who is stabled at Lone Star, has been impressed since taking over the training of Premier Dance, a son of Premiership who was bred by the late John Franks.

"He's very professional on the racetrack," said Autrey. "He has a beautiful way of moving, and his disposition is unbelievable."

"Everything about that colt impresses," Calhoun said. "He's got a tremendous mind. He's very sound and he's very fast, so that makes him very difficult to outrun. I would have loved to be leading him over Saturday, but it was a business deal. But as far as a colt that seems to have it all together and have everything going for him, he's definitely the one."

Calhoun has sold other 2-year-olds leading up to big races. His clients sold Cowboy Dan after he made three starts for Calhoun in 1997, including a big second-place finish to Favorite Trick in the WHAS at Churchill Downs. Cowboy Dan later won the $200,000 Mid-South Futurity at Lone Star.

There's also Jazz Lady, who won the fillies division of the TTA Sales Futurity for Calhoun in 2002 and was sold after the race, and Next Bandit, whom he trained to victory in the 2003 colts and geldings division of the same series and was sold afterward.

This year, Calhoun will have Majestic Date in the colts and geldings division. Last out, he finished a close fourth in his trial behind Out Our Way, the probable second choice on Saturday. Majestic Date might get a nice setup, said Calhoun.

"I think the finals may suit him well, because you're putting three trial heats together, combining them together, and you get a lot more speed in there," said Calhoun. "You get a real hot pace in front of him, and it may play to his advantage."

Calhoun will have three starters in the $150,000 fillies division of the TTA Sales Futurity, also to be run on Saturday. Final Trick, who had just recovered from a respiratory infection when she won her trial by a neck at 15-1, figures to be a much shorter price Saturday.

"I thought she was very, very impressive in her race," said Calhoun. "She's blossomed since then, so I look for her to run a big race."

Calhoun's other starters are the improving The Neighbor's Cat and Openthegate.

Slowing down the surface

Some of the times on the main track at Lone Star have been faster than usual this meet, and officials are working to slow down the surface by gradually adding material to the cushion. The first additions of sand and bark were made on May 17, with the process stepped up over the last week, said Jeff Greco, general manager of Lone Star.

"We'll continue to do things this week as well," said Greco. "You just can't change things like this overnight."

Greco said about 300 yards of sand and 300 yards of bark have been added to the main track.

* Lone Star will operate an Alex's Lemonade Stand on Saturday, with proceeds going to juvenile cancer research. Afleet Alex, the favorite in Saturday's the Belmont Stakes, has drawn attention to the cause because a portion of his winnings are donated to Alex's Lemonade Stand by the colt's owner, Cash Is King Stable.

* Red Lifesaver, who was third to the undefeated Happy Ticket last out in a six-furlong stakes, should be sharp for the move to two turns and turf in the ninth, a 7 1/2-furlong allowance for fillies and mares that carries an optional claiming price of $62,500. Roman Chapa has the mount for trainer Steve Asmussen.