06/04/2003 11:00PM

Belmont Stakes Profiles: Scrimshaw


STRENGTHS: Runs his race most of the time, and did so when he rebounded from his 11th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby with a third in the Preakness. He improved his Beyer by six points in that race, and should be able to reach triple digits if he continues to make progress. Must respect the experience and past success his trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, and jockey, Gary Stevens, bring to the table. Tactical speed is usually a plus in this race, so this horse will have every chance to capitalize if he is good enough.

WEAKNESSES: His best Beyer at a route distance is a 101, which is significantly lower than the 114 earned by Funny Cide in the Preakness and the 111 Empire Maker earned in the Wood. Interesting to see that he finished 10 1/2 lengths behind Funny Cide in the Derby, and lost by that same margin in the Preakness. Note that he lost ground down the stretch in both of those races, so the added distance makes this a difficult task for him. He will have to run a much-improved race to threaten the prime contenders.

STRATEGY: Figures to be in contention from the start, and a tepid pace would boost his chances of remaining within striking distance longer than he did in the Preakness. His challenge is to prove that he can keep up with Funny Cide and Empire Maker when they are asked for their best turning for home.

VALUE: Should provide his supporters with bettable odds to win and in the exotics, with most of the pre-race attention focused on Funny Cide, Empire Maker, and others.