02/07/2003 1:00AM

One for Fountain, one for Hutcheson


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer D. Wayne Lukas confirmed Friday that he will be sending two of his top 3-year-old prospects, Ozzie Cat and Scrimshaw, to Gulfstream Park to compete on Feb. 15 in the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth and Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes.

Lukas will run Ozzie Cat in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth and Scrimshaw in the seven-furlong Hutcheson. Ozzie Cat was beaten a neck in the Grade 3 Golden Gate Derby in his 2003 debut, and Scrimshaw has lost only once. Both horses are stabled with Lukas at Santa Anita.

"I wanted to run [at Gulfstream] with both of them, but didn't want to run them against each other," said Lukas. "And I thought the seven furlongs of the Hutcheson was a more ideal distance for Scrimshaw at this point. He's got enough speed to lay close enough to those horses and make a run at them."

Scrimshaw suffered his only defeat in three starts when he finished a tiring third in his two-turn debut in the Santa Catalina Stakes on Jan. 18.

"I knew going into that race he might not be 100 percent fit," said Lukas. "He had run 1:08 and 1 winning his first allowance condition and had gotten such good handicapping scores, including a 1 on the Ragozin Sheets" - and a 104 Beyer Figure. "As a result, I felt I needed to back up a little bit. So I let him put on about 35 to 40 pounds and gave him just a couple of soft works before the Santa Catalina. But I've really tightened down on him since then and he's coming into this race very sharp."

Lukas feels Ozzie Cat is improving with every start and should move forward off his good effort in the Golden Gate Derby.

"He's still learning," said Lukas. "He got bumped a little at the sixteenth pole and appeared to have lost his concentration just a bit. But I think he's going to improve a lot off that race. It's still only February and I feel real good about him."

Lukas has secured the services of Pat Day for Ozzie Cat in the Fountain of Youth but was trying to line up a rider on Friday for Scrimshaw.

"I'm still trying to make a deal regarding a rider for Scrimshaw," Lukas said. "I'll have one firmed up by Saturday."

O'Callaghan twofer

Trainer Niall O'Callaghan said he plans to run both Riddlesdown and Della Francesca in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap next Sunday.

Riddlesdown upset the Grade 3 Mac Diarmida Handicap on Jan. 19, returning $61.60 after leading throughout going 1 3/8 miles, the same distance as the Gulfstream Breeders' Cup Handicap.

"It didn't really surprise me that he won," said O'Callaghan. "He got beat only four lengths to almost the same field in the McKnight at Calder and he had some trouble handling that turf course, which wasn't as smooth at the end of the meet as this one was at the start of this meet. I also thought [jockey Roger Velez] used him better in the Mac Diarmida. You've got to keep him at the same pace. If you try to slow him down, he can't quicken fast enough to hold off the others when they make a run at him. He only had to improve four lengths to win, and all the factors came together."

Della Francesca won his local debut a week earlier, upsetting Stokosky in a money allowance race.

"I think Della Francesca is a horse with quite a bit of potential," said O'Callaghan. "He can win from a mile to a mile and a half, although I believe a mile and a quarter is his best trip. He was a very consistent performer in Ireland as a 3-year-old and he's such a big strong horse

I think he has to improve as a 4-year-old."