12/19/2003 12:00AM

Shake You Down champing at bit


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - If Shake You Down were able to relax, he would be hanging out in his stall on Sunday, instead of running in the $100,000 Gravesend Handicap at Aqueduct.

After Shake You Down finished second in the Grade 1 De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park on Nov. 15, trainer Scott Lake planned on giving the gelding a freshening. When Shake You Down, who has run 12 times this year, had a difficult time winding down, Lake began training him with the Grade 3 Gravesend in mind.

Shake You Down, the 124-pound highweight, spots his six rivals 8 to 14 pounds in the six-furlong Gravesend.

The last time that Shake You Down ran over Aqueduct's inner track was March 12, the day Lake claimed him for $65,000. He finished second in that race and then won his next five starts, including Belmont Park's Grade 3 Bold Ruler and Grade 2 True North Breeders' Cup Handicap and Calder's Grade 3 Smile Sprint. He also was third in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Shake You Down, who figures to be on or near the early lead, drew post 4 and will be ridden by Mike Luzzi.

If Shake You Down has fooled Lake and he really is exhausted from his outstanding campaign, Gators N Bears could be ready for a big effort. Gators N Bears, who was third in the De Francis, has run twice at Aqueduct and was eased in both those starts after jumping puddles. The track should be dry Sunday.

Gators N Bears should be able to secure a good position behind the early leaders.

"He loves to chase a horse," said Leo Nechamkin II, who trains and owns Gators N Bears. "If he is two or three lengths off the pace, he is in command."

Peeping Tom, the only Grade 1 winner in the field, is somewhat of an enigma. Just when you think the gelding's best days are over, he'll step up and run a big race. Peeping Tom ran flat when he finished fifth in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight on Nov. 27, but he was burdened with 138 pounds. He carries a mere 116 in the Gravesend.

Papua ran a super race to finish second to a very nice horse, Bossanova, in the Fall Highweight.

"[Papua] is on top of his game; we'll see where that takes him," said Papua's trainer, Mike Hushion.

Way to the Top, fourth in the De Francis, has been training sharply.

Presidentialaffair controlled the pace and won the 1 1/8-mile Stuyvesant on Nov. 11. Longshot Black Silk completes the field.