05/02/2003 12:00AM

Derby runner profile: Scrimshaw

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STRENGTHS: Scrimshaw has always been well regarded, but he didn't live up to his potential until he had throat surgery prior to his three-length win in the Grade 2 Lexington. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has owned that race in recent years. He parlayed a 1999 Lexington win into a Kentucky Derby victory with Charismatic at $64.60. Proud Citizen won it in 2002, then used the race as a springboard to a second-place Kentucky Derby finish behind War Emblem as a 23-1 longshot. Expect improvement once again, as Lukas winds this one up for his best try on the first Saturday in May.

WEAKNESSES: Earned only a 99 Beyer for his win in the Lexington, far short of the 108 figure Charismatic registered. It is significant that he finished with a slower-than-par, variant-adjusted come-home time in the Lexington. He is inexperienced with just five career races under his belt, and has not seen a field larger than eight horses since he won his maiden. He has never been past 1 1/16 miles, and must prove that he can earn a competitive Beyer versus Grade 1 company at 1 1/4 miles.

STRATEGY: He has good tactical speed and will probably want to be up close to the leaders. He rated two lengths off the lead when he won the Lexington, and that strategy worked so well that it wouldn't make much sense to try and change his running style for the Derby.

VALUE: The Lukas name and the success he has had in using the Lexington as a Derby prep will attract some betting support, but Scrimshaw still figures to be a longshot. If you like his chances, bet him to win and include him in the exotics.

PEDIGREE PROFILE

SIRE LINE: Gulch, one of Mr. Prospector's best runners, won 11 stakes races, including the Breeders' Cup Sprint, Wood Memorial, Metropolitan Handicap, Hopeful, and Futurity. A champion sprinter, Gulch has sired classic runners such as Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch, English 3-year-old champion Nayef, and Super Derby winner Wallenda.

FEMALE FAMILY: Rogue Girl won 10 times in 44 starts and in addition to Scrimshaw, she produced Classic Ingrid, who finished second in the La Prevoyante Stakes. Second dam Office Visit was also a modest winner but produced multiple stakes winner Rogues Walk, who finished third in the 1995 Alabama Stakes, and V.J.'s Honor, third-place finisher in the 1990 Saranac. This family also produced Apolda, Ganges, Smooth Jazz, Future Storm, and Level Sands.

PEDIGREE PATTERN: Gulch and broodmare sire Sham, second to Secretariat in the 1973 Derby and Preakness, add stamina to this pedigree, but nine furlongs rather than 1 1/4 miles seems like a better fit for Scrimshaw.

- Pedigree profile by Lauren Stich