12/05/2003 12:00AM

Sprinter's pedigree, router's body

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - With a commanding victory in the nine-furlong Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct Nov. 29, Read the Footnotes established himself as one of the top staying 2-year-old colts of his crop. Already the winner of the Nashua Stakes, Read the Footnotes defeated the Grand Slam colt Master David by 3 3/4 lengths, with the third-place runner 14 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

Considering the degree of domination that Read the Footnotes showed in the Remsen, the next question for the colt will be spring's prep races for the classics. A careful reading of his pedigree offers some help in assessing Read the Footnotes's chances.

Bred in New York by Lawrence Goichman, Read the Footnotes is by the successful young sire Smoke Glacken, who was champion sprinter in 1997. Henry Carroll trained Smoke Glacken and compared the sire and his son: "Smoke Glacken was a bit hot early on. Read the Footnotes seems to be a lot more tractable colt. Rick [Violette] has done a tremendous job with him to control that natural speed. And this early in the game, to go a mile and an eighth has to make you have feel pretty good" about his chances of stretching out for the classics.

In most instances, a colt by a sprinter is simply not a candidate for the classics. This year, however, Funny Cide won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and his sire is Distorted Humor, who showed his best form at sprints.

With both Funny Cide and Read the Footnotes, it is essential to consider the individual before assessing his distance potential. A lengthy and attractive colt, Read the Footnotes has a powerful hind leg, along with the scope to race two turns.

Michael Hernon, director of sales at Graham Beck's Gainesway Farm, who stands Smoke Glacken, said the stallion "was durable himself, won 10 of 14 starts, raced on many different tracks, was a stakes winner at two turns, and I'm not surprised to see him siring stock that would go two turns. The way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised to see him throw good winners at a mile and a quarter."

Read the Footnotes gave the impression that he would not be limited to sprinting when he sold as a juvenile in training earlier this year.

At the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds at Timonium in May, Read the Footnotes showed speed in his trial, running three furlongs in 33.20 seconds. It was the fastest work of the sale for that distance, and perhaps the most impressive thing was the colt's manner in doing it. He looked like a racehorse and appeared to want more ground rather than less.

As a result, Read the Footnotes was in hot demand at the sale, and Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables bought him out of the Niall Brennan consignment for $320,000, the highest price of the auction.

In addition to speed and finesse on the track, Read the Footnotes looked like an athlete and shares some qualities with his champion sire.

"As a stallion, Smoke Glacken is dominating his mares, and when looking at his offspring, I want his stock to be like him," Hernon said. "Read the Footnotes stands over a lot of ground and is very similar to Smoke Glacken in his stride. This colt was able to open up four or five lengths and put the field away on the turn, albeit he rated kindly before drawing off.

"He could be the breakthrough horse for Smoke Glacken, and with a winner of the Demoiselle in Smok'n Frolic [in 2001], this just confirms his ability to get good late-season juvenile performers who train on."

Getting high-class 2-year-olds, especially those who do well late in the year and continue to progress well into their 3-year-old season, is crucial for any stallion to move up the ladder of commercial acceptance. Smoke Glacken is doing this, as his stud fee is rising to $25,000 live foal for 2004.

Hernon said, "The demand for Smoke Glacken this year is very strong, we've been conservative with his fee to date, and he's just about book full for next year. As a result of the demand, we're able to be more selective, and the quality of his book continues to improve. It's very gratifying now to see him succeed as I anticipated he had the potential to do. I think there's a lot more potential, with better books of mares, and I see no reason he won't continue to improve as he goes on."

Even a champion like Smoke Glacken has had to prove himself to gain broader and stronger support as a stallion. The success of his racers on the track is paying off, however, and the horse has earned respect from trainers and owners. Hernon said, "They all seem to be competitive racehorses, no matter what. He's moving his mares up, as indicated by the average-earnings index, from relatively limited opportunity. And each book of mares has been better than what came before."

Carroll said, "I looked at every weanling in his first crop, and just looking at the young horses, I thought his third crop would be his best yet." As a member of that third crop, Read the Footnotes can play a major role is how high "Smoke" will rise.