11/23/2007 1:00AM

More talent than money in Pass the Line

EmailMIAMI - For a mere $35,000 purse, Calder management got a real bargain, considering the field that is scheduled to run in Sunday's Pass the Line Stakes.

The Pass the Line, a 7 1/2-furlong overnight turf stakes, drew a lineup that includes multiple graded stakes winner Hotstufanthensome, local grass stars Croton Road and Jet Propulsion, three-time stakes winner Gimme Credit, trainer Shug McGaughey's well-bred and rapidly improving Parading, and the multiple-stakes-winning mare Formal Miss. A full field of 12 will start if the race goes as carded on the grass.

The Pass the Line originally had offered $50,000 in prize money but fell victim to recent purse cuts that went into effect at Calder last week.

Hotstufanthensome has not started since finishing fifth as the favorite in the 1 1/2-mile Grade 3 Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs on May 26. Hotstufanthensome, 7, won the Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup and was second in Gulfstream Park's Grade 3 Pan American earlier this season. Overall, Hotstufanthensome has won 10 of 32 career starts for earnings in excess of $626,000.

Hotstufanthensome will be ridden for the first time by jockey Manoel Cruz, who has been pretty hot himself around here of late. Cruz won four races on Thanksgiving Day to extend his comfortable lead in the jockey standings over Elvis Trujillo.

Croton Road returns from a slightly shorter layoff, having been away since rallying to an easy win over Jet Propulsion in The Vid Stakes here on Aug. 12. The victory was the second in a row for Croton Road, following a five-month hiatus earlier this season.

"There certainly are three or four legitimate horses in here," trainer Ron Spatz said.

"He overcame ankle surgery to run two great races this summer, then had to go on the shelf again because of some additional ailments.

"Seven and one-half furlongs is not his distance, and it's really a shame to have to run for this amount of money at the wrong distance, but the timing is good and he's very sharp now. I really need to get a race into him."

Jet Propulsion posted wire-to-wire victories in the Miami Breeders' Cup Mile and Carterista handicaps earlier this year, but could get tested early in the Pass the Line if Quistopher and Sand Slider start.

Gimme Credit returns against open company after finishing third over soft ground against New York-breds in Belmont's Mohawk Handicap on Oct. 20. Gimme Credit won an overnight stakes in open company going seven furlongs earlier this year in New York.

Parading has improved steadily since switched to the turf by McGaughey at Saratoga. A homebred son of Pulpit and On Parade, Parading turned in his career best performance when equipped with blinkers for the first time last month at Keeneland, rallying to a five-length entry-level allowance victory.

* Silk Ridge, the undisputed leader of the local 2-year-old filly division earlier this season, worked five furlongs in 1:03.40 on Friday in preparation for a likely start in the $100,000 Three Ring Stakes on Dec. 1.