02/14/2004 12:00AM

'Footnotes' wins a thriller

Read the Footnotes (left) and Second of June turn for home Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Read the Footnotes was surrendering recent activity and a race over the track to favored Second of June in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 at Gulfstream Park, but Read the Footnotes still overcame those obstacles to prevail by neck after a thrilling stretch drive.

With jockey Jerry Bailey aboard, Read the Footnotes wore down favored Second of June in the final yards in this final prep for the March 13 Florida Derby. The way both colts ran Saturday, their rematch four weeks hence will be eagerly anticipated.

Frisky Spider led for the first half-mile through a moderate pace in 47.70 seconds, but then Second of June and Read the Footnotes moved on by and hooked up six furlongs into the 1 1/16-mile race. Second of June led narrowly after six furlongs in 1:11.21, and was still in front at midstretch, but Read the Footnotes wore him down in the final yards. He was timed in 1:42.71 on the fast main track.

Silver Wagon was another 7 1/2 lengths back in third, and was followed, in order, by El Prado Rob, Sir Oscar, Broadway View, Frisky Spider, and Hopefortheroses.

Read the Footnotes ($6.20) had not raced since capturing Aqueduct's Remsen Stakes on Nov. 29. Second of June, the 3-2 favorite, was in the midst of a three-race win streak, and most recently won the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 17.

Rick Violette, the trainer of Read the Footnotes, thought his colt might come up a bit short in his first start in 2 1/2 months, but he was dead fit.

"It was a tremendous effort by the horse and a tremendous effort by Rick Violette to get him ready," Bailey said. "Off the layoff, to get to the bottom of him, just a great training job."

Violette was concerned immediately after the race that this performance was too stressful this early in the year, but that anxiety was mitigated by his colt's courageous effort.

"In a way I didn't want that," Violette said. "That race got to the bottom of him. It's four weeks until the Florida Derby, and he'll need every bit of it. He showed he's the real deal."

Read the Footnotes, a 3-year-old New York-bred colt by Smoke Glacken, has now won five times in six starts. He is owned by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables.

Bill Cesare, who trains Second of June, said, "You can't win them all, but he ran great. He ain't the only good horse out there. I've got no complaints other than we didn't win."

- additional reporting by David Grening