11/23/2005 12:00AM

'Premier' now trying two turns


Premier Dance, a 2-year-old who has won four stakes in his last four starts, will make his first start around two turns on Friday in the $75,000 Eddy County at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M.

The one-mile Eddy County drew a field of seven horses, including Value Fund and Storm Treasure, separate betting interests who each won maiden races in Kentucky last out for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Premier Dance arrived at Zia Park on Wednesday morning from his Louisiana Downs base. His winning streak started in July with a victory in the $73,000 Middleground Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park. Premier Dance then captured the $50,000 Minstrel at Louisiana Downs in August, the $100,000 Lafayette at Evangeline Downs in September, and the $56,000 Governor's at Zia in his last start Oct. 30.

All of those races came over six furlongs.

"We want to give him some experience going a mile, and see if he wants to do it," said Cody Autrey, who trains Premier Dance. "If not, we'll run him back six furlongs."

Autrey has a number of reasons to believe Premier Dance will be effective at the two-turn trip, including his manageability.

"In the mornings, you can work him five-eighths in 58 [seconds], or you can work him five-eighths in 1:05," Autrey said. "You can do whatever you want to with him at any time. . . .

"And he's a big, long-jumping horse. He covers a lot of ground."

Premier Dance came from farther back than usual in his last start, when he closed from seventh for a 1 3/4-length win in the Governor's. He should get a different kind of trip on Friday.

"Last time he broke a little slow and kind of eased back," said Autrey. "I think that he'll be a lot closer to the pace because of the longer distance. I think he'll be sitting about second."

Luis Quinonez has the mount on Premier Dance, who races for Charles Fletcher.

Might Be Hooked, who was second in the Governor's, also figures in the race. He dueled on the lead throughout, and one start earlier won a seven-furlong stakes at Albuquerque. Ken Tohill has the mount for trainer Johnnie Nall.