12/26/2002 12:00AM

Coyote Lakes's trainer feels the heat


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Bruce Levine admits he is feeling pressure heading into Saturday's Grade 3 Gallant Fox Handicap at Aqueduct with Coyote Lakes seeking his third consecutive victory in the 13-furlong marathon.

"I go over him every day," Levine said. "I had a bunch of sick horses in the barn, but he seems all right. Trying to win this race three times in a row, I feel it. I never felt it before."

Coyote Lakes is making his fifth consecutive appearance in the Gallant Fox. Last year, Coyote Lakes joined the likes of Stymie, Hitchcock, Big Spruce, and Michelle Can Pass as the only horses to win two consecutive runnings of the race. No horse has won three straight.

Coyote Lakes, who is 8 for 13 over the inner track, figures to be favored in the Gallant Fox, which drew a surprisingly large field of 11. He will break from post 4 and carry 118 pounds under Mike Luzzi.

Coyote Lakes won his prep for the Gallant Fox on Dec. 8, coming from off the pace to win a 10-furlong race by two lengths.

"He's just as good now as he was going into that race," said Levine, who ran one-two in the 1998 Gallant Fox with Aavelord and Coyote Lakes.

One of the reasons Levine is feeling pressure is the presence of Pinky Pizwaanski in the field. Trained by Billy Turner, Pinky Pizwaanski has run Beyer Speed Figures of 104 in each of his last two starts, including a four-length win in a second-level allowance race on Nov. 27.

"It bothers me he's running," Levine said of Turner. "[Turner] doesn't waste races. I have the utmost respect for the guy."

Fisher Pond, a 3-year-old son of A.P. Indy, is another threat. Fisher Pond won the off-the-turf Lawrence Realization at 1 1/2 miles and finished second behind Evening Attire in the off-the-turf Red Smith last month. He figures to be prominent early under John Velazquez from post 6.

"We're no match for Evening Attire, but we were able to run good enough to beat some other decent horses," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "He's one of those horses that has route speed and he's able to carry it a long way. He clicks off those steady fractions. He's an improving horse, and a lot of A.P. Indys get better as they get older."

Lucky Molar ships down from Woodbine with an upset chance.

He is coming off a victory in the 1 3/4-mile Valedictory Handicap in his last start.

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