11/29/2001 1:00AM

Free of Love spotted to win


JAMAICA, N.Y. - After four consecutive starts in graded stakes, Free of Love is deserving of a shot in an easier spot, trainer Rick Violette said, and he has found a suitable allowance race for his 3-year-old on Friday at Aqueduct.

Free of Love, the runner-up in the Grade 1 Jim Dandy in August, is among nine entered in the eighth race, a third-level allowance

for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles.

Friday's $48,000 purse is quite a bit lower than what Free of Love has been running for of late. Among his most recent starts were last month's $109,300 Discovery, in which he was third, and the $1 million Travers, in August, where he finished fifth.

In between those starts, Free of Love was seventh in the $314,000 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park over a surface that Violette said the colt might not have cared for.

"He's doing great, and we would like to win a race with him," Violette said. "He stepped up against good stock in those races and deserves to step back into an allowance race. I think this will be a good spot for him."

In the Discovery, Free of Love held a narrow advantage around the turn and then was engaged by Street Cry at the top of the stretch. Evening Attire slipped by those two on the rail in the final furlong and won the race.

"I liked his last race; he might have got into the game a little earlier than he wanted to," Violette said.

"Before that, the Hoosier Derby was a throwout; he ran against the best horses in the country in the Travers; and nearly won the Jim Dandy. We just haven't won a stakes yet."

Violette, who said Free of Love would likely go to Florida this winter, has named Richard Migliore to ride. Free of Love drew post 3.

Free of Love's toughest rival could be Tempest Fugit, who will be ridden by the red-hot John Velazquez. Tempest Fugit, a winner of a $50,000 claimer here Nov. 1, is powerhouse at the distance and loves Aqueduct, where he is 3 for 4. Showers are forecast for Friday, which wouldn't hurt the chances of Tempest Fugit, who rolled to a 10 1/2-length win on a muddy trackat Aqueduct exactly one year ago.

Tempest Fugit, who has early speed, drew post 7.

New York-bred Duplicitous is coming off a decent second in the restricted Empire Classic. No Bad Habits is without a win at the distance, but is eligible to complete the exacta or trifecta.