12/05/2003 12:00AM

Big Apple Triple nominating process changed

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The New York Racing Association has instituted a change in the nomination process for the 2004 Big Apple Triple for New York-bred 3-year-olds.

Instead of a $200 early nomination fee due in January for eligibility to each of the Big Apple Triple races, which are run in the summer, nominations will close on a normal schedule, approximately two weeks before the race.

The Big Apple Triple consists of the Mike Lee at Belmont Park in June, the New York Derby at Finger Lakes in July, and the Albany at Saratoga Race Course. The 2004 dates for these races have yet to be assigned.

For the last three years, if a horse wasn't nominated to the Big Apple Triple, the owner had to fork over a $5,000 supplemental fee per race, plus entry and starting fees.

That's precisely what the connections of Bakhoor did in 2001 when Sheikh Mohammed paid $10,000 in supplemental fees to run his colt in the Mike Lee and Albany. Bakhoor earned the money back by finishing third in the Mike Lee, but was ninth in the Albany.

Mike Lakow, NYRA's racing secretary and handicapper, said he felt it was unfair to owners to have them pony up the nomination money so far in advance of the Big Apple Triple.

"It forced owners to come up with the money when 80 percent, if not more, of these horses are still maidens," Lakow said. "Some owners might miss an early nomination because they didn't realize how good their horses were at the time. The Triple Crown is different because everyone knows what they have got."

An incentive to nominating early was starting preference in overnight races for New York-bred 3-year-olds at NYRA tracks, beginning Feb. 1 and continuing through the conclusion of the series.

Lakow said the loss of that perk under the new nomination process isn't that big of a deal.

"When those races overfill we try to divide them or bring them back the next day," Lakow said. "The perk wasn't significant."

* The New York-bred program has a budding star in Read the Footnotes, who won his second consecutive graded stakes in the Grade 2 Remsen last weekend at Aqueduct.

Read the Footnotes, who is a cinch to win the New York-bred championship for top 2-year-old male in 2003, won the Remsen by 3 3/4 lengths. A son of 1997 sprint champion Smoke Glacken, he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 105, which is the highest earned by a 2-year-old around two turns this year. Read the Footnotes also won the Grade 3 Nashua on Nov. 2.

Not surprisingly, after the Remsen, Rick Violette Jr., who trains Read the Footnotes for Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables, was listening to questions that compared his colt to this year's Kentucky Derby winner, Funny Cide. Funny Cide was crowned the 2002 champion New York-bred juvenile after winning two restricted stakes, the Sleepy Hollow and Bertram F. Bongard.

Read the Footnotes "certainly has done more than Funny Cide did at this time last year, but that doesn't mean anything. He still has to make it next year," Violette said.

Violette said he won't be wasting energy worrying about Read the Footnotes's sprinting pedigree as he prepares him for the Kentucky Derby. He said Read the Footnotes took the first step to getting a mile and a quarter in winning the 1 1/8-mile Remsen.

"All I know is we got to the eighth pole," Violette said. "I'm not going to lose sleep over it. Let the chips fall as they may next year."

Read the Footnotes will make his 3-year-old debut in either the seven-furlong Hutcheson or 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth. Both races are run at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 14.

Read the Footnotes is the first graded stakes winner for his breeder, Lawrence Goichman. Goichman sold Read the Footnotes in May at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May sale of 2-year-olds in training. Klarman bought Read the Footnotes, the sales topper, for $320,000.

Read the Footnotes's dam, Baydon Belle, was purchased by Goichman at Tattersalls in 1998. Read the Footnotes is her first winner.