10/31/2003 12:00AM

Value Plus tries to rebound


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - After demolishing his competition in his career debut, Value Plus lost his next two starts. On Sunday at Aqueduct, Value Plus will try to regain the brilliant form he flashed in his first start in the Grade 3, $100,000-added Nashua Stakes.

Eleven 2-year-old males were entered in the one-mile Nashua, a prep for the Grade 2 Remsen Nov. 29. In its 27 runnings, the Nashua has had very little impact on the Triple Crown, save for Pine Bluff, who won the 1992 Preakness after winning the 1991 Nashua.

Value Plus, purchased by Aaron and Marie Jones for $1.1 million at auction as a yearling, won his first start by 8 3/4 lengths at Saratoga on July 26. He then finished a well-beaten second to Cuvee in the Grade 1 Futurity, which was followed by a fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Grade 2 Lane's End Futurity. In the 1 1/16-mile Lane's End, Value Plus pressed the pace before gaining a short lead around the far turn and tiring in the stretch.

His trainer, Todd Pletcher, said the Nashua and Remsen should determine the course he will take with Value Plus as a 3-year-old.

"He's trained well since the Keeneland race and looks good," said Pletcher, who has won five stakes with 2-year-olds in New York this year.

John Velazquez rides Value Plus, who figures to be a pace factor, from post 4.

Read the Footnotes, a New York-bred trained by Richard Violette Jr., won his first two starts in impressive fashion. In his stakes debut in the Grade 1 Champagne, Read the Footnotes finished sixth, beaten 15 lengths. Violette said that Read the Footnotes, a Smoke Glacken colt, displaced his palate in the Champagne and underwent a myectomy, a surgical procedure to open his air passages.

"It's a fairly simple procedure and we did it to give him his best shot," Violette said. "He always trained like a very nice horse and he took dirt [in his face] well in his second start."

Jerry Bailey rides Read the Footnotes from the rail.

Bailey was aboard the regally bred Good Reward, a son of Storm Cat out of Heavenly Prize, when he won his maiden on Sept. 13 in a mile race at Belmont Park. Edgar Prado picks up the mount on Good Reward, who is trained by Shug McGaughey.

Rounding out the field are Big Booster, Charismatic Robb, China Coast, Motivus, Paddington, Tsuzomin, Who is Chris G., and War Fever.