When trainer Eddie Gaudet saw the pre-entries for yesterday's $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship at Laurel, he considered the field of 2-year-old Maryland-breds relatively weak. So he and partner Charlie Hardesty agreed to spend $5,000 to make Trap Line a supplemental entry.

The amount represented more than 50 percent of Trap Line's career earnings, but it was well spent. Trap Line emerged from the mud and muck yesterday to take the $65,000 winner's prize, outlasting the Woody Stephens-trained, even-money favorite Cefis by a half-length. Gospel Note, who led into the stretch, was a well-beaten third.

With his splashing surge through the stretch, Trap Line completed his journey from a $30,000 claimer to a stakes winner and substantiated Gaudet's belief that the gelding had star qualities.

"We always liked him, and he had trained real good," Gaudet said. "I ran him for $30,000 {in his first two starts} because he's kind of ill-bred, and they just don't {claim} horses like Trap Line for that much. Now, I guess he's a little better horse than what I originally thought."

Trap Line prompted Gaudet's reassessment under a sterling ride by Allen Stacy -- his fourth jockey in four races. "What I told Allen," Gaudet said, "was to stand up on him and ride him with confidence."

Trap Line hadn't started alertly for Jimmy Edwards in his previous race -- when he was fourth in the Devil's Bag Stakes -- but he broke spritely under Stacy from post position 1.

Long shot Golden Lorne rushed to the front, and when Michael Hunter sent Gospel Note past him after about five furlongs, Trap Line was moving just as fast, a couple of lengths behind and well off the rail. "Young horses don't like dirt, especially slop, to hit them," Stacy said, "so I tried to stay clear."

As Trap Line advanced, Cefis began reducing his once 20-length deficit.

Gospel Note retained his advantage on Trap Line through the turn and into the lane, but he surrendered at the furlong marker. Stacy, cracking his mount left-handed, moved Trap Line past the front-runner on the outside, while Maple rushed Cefis into contention in the middle of the track. But just when he appeared to have Trap Line measured, Stacy got a bit extra from his mount to secure the triumph in 1:45 2/5 and pay $15.80 to his backers.

Stephens, in Florida for the Hialeah meeting, said he plans to run Cefis in a turf stakes there next week. But he's not optimistic.

"I never thought this was a good horse," said the Hall of Fame trainer. "I never said he was a good horse."

Gaudet said Trap Line is likely to run next in the $50,000-added Inner Harbor Stakes at Laurel Dec. 20.


Nastique came from seventh in the field of 11 to win the $244,800 Ladies Handicap by 8 1/2 lengths over Tricky Squaw in New York. No Choice was third.