12/11/2003 12:00AM

Money-burner takes new shot


PHOENIX - Knoll Lake hasn't made many friends lately. Trained by Kevin Lewis, Knoll Lake lost at 1-5 and at 2-5 in two recent Turf Paradise races. She attempts to make amends for those losses in Saturday's $35,000 Mesa Handicap.

The 6 1/2-furlong race has lured a field of seven, though only six are likely to go.

Those two recent defeats aside, Knoll Lake has been solid throughout her career. She has won 11 of 23 and nearly $250,000; and she is 10 for 19 at Turf Paradise. A multiple stakes winner here the past two years, she recently tried Southern California and handled herself well. She was second in a $100,000 optional claimer to eventual graded stakes winner Belleski, then won an allowance turf sprint before finishing eighth in a turf sprint stakes at Del Mar.

Knoll Lake was then freshened by Lewis, who brought her back in the Oct. 25 Phoenix Handicap. As highweight and heavy favorite she battled gamely but couldn't fend off No Turbulence in the final furlong. Wheeled back in the Nov. 12 Excess Energy in the slop, she looked like a winner in midstretch, but tired and was defeated by La Duncan. She gets a crack at both those foes again here Saturday.

Knoll Lake carries high weight of 121 pounds with regular rider Kelly Bridges aboard.

La Duncan showed ability racing in Chile, but found the going tougher in Southern California. She moved to trainer Donald Mills here, and stormed home to beat Knoll Lake in the Excess Energy.

No Turbulence is also in at 120 pounds, and she is trained by Eric Kruljac. She closed strongly in the Phoenix Handicap to beat Knoll Lake. She didn't fire last time in the Queen of Green Handicap, but that was at a mile on turf. She may be better at this game. Three of her five wins have come over this track.

Co-highweighted at 121 pounds is another Kruljac runner, Talk Me Again. But she ran at Hollywood Park Wednesday and almost certainly will not be wheeled back in three days.