11/07/2002 1:00AM

This spot easier than BC Sprint


MIAMI. - My Cousin Matt, who was forced to bow out of the Breeders' Cup Sprint after spiking a temperature the week of the race, will return to action here next Saturday in the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap. The six-furlong race is one of five stakes races restricted to Florida-breds that make up the $1 million Florida Million card.

My Cousin Matt, claimed by owner Richard Englander for $85,000 on Sept. 25, was originally placed on the also-eligible list for the BC Sprint but had the opportunity to draw into the starting lineup following the withdrawals of Gygistar and D'wildcat.

"He came down with a little mucus and a temperature so there was no sense shipping him when he wasn't 100 percent," said Scott Lake, currently the nation's top trainer in wins. "Originally, we had thought about running My Cousin Matt in the De Francis at Laurel, but changed plans and decided to start Thunderello in the De Francis and send My Cousin Matt to Calder for the statebred stakes, which will be an easier spot for him."

My Cousin Matt brings a three-race win streak into the Dudley, including an easy 5 1/2-length second-level allowance victory at Belmont in his first start under Lake's care.

"Richard [Englander] likes to take a chance with young horses that are improving and he liked the [sheet numbers] on this horse," Lake said. "He's doing tremendous at the moment, and I'm hoping I can make shipping arrangements to get him down to Florida about a week before the race. I'd at least like to have the chance to let him go down the lane a couple of days out."

Another invader pointing to the Dudley is Mighty David, a California-based 3-year-old, whose best effort this season was a second in the Harry Henson Stakes on the grass at Hollywood Park on April 24.

Among the leading local contenders for the inaugural running of the Dudley are Built Up, Royal Lad, and Tour of the Cat.

Owner-breeder Michael Sherman said he might start two fillies, Heavenly Miss and Elegant Designer, in the $150,000 Joe O'Farrrell Juvenile Fillies on Florida Million day.

Heavenly Miss is the more experienced of the pair having won 2 of 7 starts, including the J j'sdream Stakes on June 29. She was also second behind local division leader Ivanavinalot in the Susan's Girl Stakes.

Elegant Designer is currently with trainer Anthony Dutrow in New York, where she easily defeated first level allowance company on Oct. 24 at Belmont Park and earned a 90 Beyer.

"I had five fillies eligible for the same allowance condition here so I decided to send Elegant Designer to New York," said Sherman. "The way she won up there now has me considering bringing her back for the stakes."

* Maliziosa will be an odds-on favorite against eight other 3-year-old fillies in Saturday's $40,000 Good Intentions Stakes on the turf. Maliziosa ran second behind local division leader Cellars Shiraz in the Calder Oaks here last month, but faces no such competition on Saturday. Maliziosa is a two-time stakes winner this year.