12/31/2005 12:00AM

Navesink River rolls again, this time in Gallant Fox


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Navesink River was equally as dominant in Saturday's $83,100 as he was in the prep race for it 24 days ago, galloping to a 5 1/2-length score in the 1 5/8-mile race before a crowd of 3,552 at soggy Aqueduct.

India Halo, the only mare in the field of nine, finished second, four lengths ahead of Chilly Rooster. Completing the order of finish were Nohasslatdcastle, Potri Cacho, We Can Seek, El Provinciano, Loving, and Decourcey.

Lagging behind the rest of the field for the first half-mile under Mike Luzzi, Navesink River joined the pack while four wide entering the clubhouse turn, galloped alongside two pacesetters down the backside the second time, then took command in the stretch for the victory. Navesink River, who won the Coyote Lakes Stakes by 5 1/2 lengths on Dec. 7, ran 1 5/8 miles in 2:44.96 over a track labeled fast. He returned $3.60 as the favorite.

It was the third Gallant Fox victory for Luzzi in the last five runnings of this race. For trainer Todd Pletcher, it was his 26th stakes win in New York in 2005. Overall, Pletcher won 102 races on the New York Racing Association circuit for the year, second only to Richard Dutrow Jr., who won 113.

Luzzi said he made an early move toward the leaders because Navesink River "was pulling a little bit. I think the track being a little tight kind of got him on the muscle."

"He was probably the best horse," Luzzi said. "Cool horse. He didn't want to pull up. I think he'd run two miles."

Assistant trainer Seth Benzel said it was unclear what was next for Navesink River. With no more marathon races in New York this winter, it is possible he could ship to south Florida, where he has shown an affinity for the Gulfstream Park turf course, having won the Grade 2 Pan American Handicap over that strip last April.