Baron de Vaux spent the early part of the year picking on Major Lux, but he didn't touch him yesterday. Baron de Vaux returned to Laurel much the big shot, then faced Major Lux and discovered how much his old pushover has grown.

Bigger and faster than in his early months as a 3-year-old, Major Lux ran away from Baron de Vaux and was rewarded for it. His victory in the $75,000 Humphrey S. Finney Stakes was his third in a row.

The Finney had been scheduled for the turf course, but hard rain forced a switch to the muddy main track. The surface had little bearing on the odds for Baron de Vaux, made the even-money favorite off his third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes.

Perspiring heavily before the race, Baron de Vaux never had the lead despite Jean Cruguet's efforts. He began advancing from fifth midway through the backstretch, but Major Lux had the jump on him and was closing in on Lick, who had set a fairly slow pace.

Major Lux (2-1) took the lead on the turn, and Baron de Vaux's attempt to reach him at the top of the lane proved feeble. Major Lux regained his three-length lead and then some, Gregg McCarron pushing hard en route to a six-length victory worth $45,000.

Baron de Vaux had four lengths on third-place Tigors, who made a big move for Edgar Prado into the stretch but couldn't sustain it.

Owned by Eugene Ford of Bethesda and trained by Bernie Bond, Major Lux went the nine furlongs in 1:51 3/5, paid $6.40 and pushed his earnings past $150,000. After seeing his prize 3-year-old win his last three races on turf, dirt and mud, Bond said, "He'll run on anything, I believe, right now."

Baron de Vaux's good name among them.