04/07/2004 11:00PM

Read the Footnotes pleases his trainer in drill

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - It's a good bet trainer Rick Violette had a smile on his face when he boarded his flight Thursday afternoon for New York, where he'll saddle Swingforthefences in Saturday's Wood Memorial. That's because several hours earlier his top Kentucky Derby prospect, Read the Footnotes, worked a mile in 1:39.80 at Palm Meadows.

"It was wonderful," Violette said of the work. "Stride for stride, I don't know if I'd change a single one during the breeze."

Violette said went his opening half mile in 51 seconds, then came home the second half in 48.80.

"The final time might be a little misleading, because the track, for whatever reason, was very firm and quick this morning," said Violette. "On a normal Palm Meadows track he probably would have gone a second or two slower. But it was still a terrific work. It was particularly nice the way he settled the first part of it and then finished so well. He got a lot out of the work, but came back fine, scoped clean, and ate all his lunch right away."

Violette says he plans to do "something serious" again with Read the Footnotes next week, then give him two more maintenance works before shipping to Churchill Downs early Derby week.

"His next breeze will be his most serious, but probably won't be as serious as it might have been had he not worked so well today," said Violette. "I'd probably be looking for the same kind of effort I saw this morning. That will give him a couple of long-winded works under his belt so the final two will be simply to maintain."

Violette decided to train Read the Footnotes into the Derby following his fourth-place finish in the Florida Derby on March 13.

Unlike Violette, trainer Bob Durso was not smiling Thursday afternoon. Durso had been looking forward to running his speedy Frisky Spider in Saturday's $60,000 Hallandale Beach Stakes, but the race was canceled due to lack of entries. Only one other 3-year-old, Golden Gator, had been entered in the Hallandale Beach.

"I can't believe this race couldn't fill even after they reduced the purse," said Durso. "You'd think a couple of guys with horses eligible for first- or second-level allowance races would take a shot for a $60,000 purse. I was hoping to get this race under his belt before shipping north. Now I'll probably have to leave here a bit early, because there is a race for him at Delaware later this month."