03/11/2004 12:00AM

Fonner: Death Trappe's homecoming

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - Death Trappe has shipped in from California to take a shot at unseating two-time defending champion Tate's Way in Saturday's $25,000-added Ogataul Handicap for older Nebraska-breds going six furlongs.

Owned and trained by Don Leifeld, Death Trappe's form will certainly raise some eyebrows when he makes his first local appearance in several years. Now an 8-year-old, Death Trappe returns to his home state coming off a solid fifth against $40,000 claiming company over the Santa Anita turf course going one mile. Prior to that he narrowly missed against $45,000 claiming company going 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita.

A son of Night Above out of the Les Aspres mare Les a Trappe, Death Trappe worked a strong five furlongs in 1:00.20 over a good surface last Monday, easily the most impressive clocking of the morning. Armando Martinez has the ride from post 3 at 118 pounds.

Tate's Way will have his work cut out as he looks for a third straight win in the Ogataul for trainer David Anderson. He made his seasonal debut here on Feb. 21, when he made a mild run to finish third in the half-mile Grasmick Handicap. Tate's Way will carry top weight of 121 pounds and has Perry Compton named to ride from post 10.

High Dice, owned and trained by Herb Riecken, will make his first start of the year in the Ogataul as the second highweight at 120 pounds. Dennis Collins has the riding assignment from post 7. A 9-year-old son of Lytrump, High Dice is one of the richer Nebraska-breds still in training, with a bankroll of $287,515 and a mark of 18-14-11 from 63 starts.