03/07/2005 12:00AM

Scipion leads Louisiana Derby cast


NEW ORLEANS - Eight 3-year-old colts, headed by Grade 3 Risen Star winner Scipion, are possible for Saturday's Grade 2, $600,000 Louisiana Derby, a key prep for the Kentucky Derby.

Post positions for the 1 1/16-mile race will be drawn Wednesday morning, along with three other stakes on the Louisiana Derby card - the Grade 2, $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks, the Grade 2, $500,000 New Orleans Handicap, and the Marie Krantz Memorial Handicap. The four stakes will be linked in a guaranteed $250,000 pick-four bet.

Trainer Todd Pletcher had 17 of the 113 early nominations to the Louisiana Derby, so when his barn's Proud Accolade came down with a fever over the weekend, Pletcher already had another candidate, Vicarage, waiting in the wings. Vicarage, who finished third behind Proud Accolade in the Grade 2 Hutcheson in his last start, is scheduled to arrive at Fair Grounds Wednesday for the 1 1/16-mile race, giving Pletcher a chance to gallop him over the main track to help familiarize him with its long stretch.

Scipion is based in California but gained experience over the Fair Grounds surface in the Risen Star - the prep race for the Louisiana Derby - with an impressive last-to-first stretch rally. He will ship in Thursday for trainer Patrick Biancone.

"He worked a couple of days ago," assistant trainer Pierre Bellocq Jr. said. "He came out of it perfect. He's very good right now."

Real Dandy appeared to find himself at the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Risen Star, closing boldly for the place, and is among three Risen Star horses who will run in the Louisiana Derby. Risen Star third-place finisher Storm Surge also will go in the derby, to which he has been pointed since the meet began.

Storm Surge was 2 for 2 over the track going into the Risen Star and ran gamely. Not known as a dazzling work horse, he breezed a solid five furlongs in 1:00.60 over the weekend and can be dangerous in this spot. After his each of his two previous losses, he rebounded with a career-topping performance. If he follows that pattern, he will surely be tough.

High Limit, Kansas City Boy, and Wallstreet Scandal are expected to run, and Indy Storm is possible.

Meanwhile, eight 3-year-old fillies are expected in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks. Silverbulletday winner Summerly and Breeders' Cup Juvenile third-place finisher Runway Model lead the field, which will likely include Eyes on Eddy, Enduring Will, and Memorette. Among possible Oaks entrants are Soul Search, Charming Coleen, and Carlea.

Wanderin Boy, who won the Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds on Louisiana Derby Preview Day; Badge of Silver; and Pollard's Vision top the field for the New Orleans Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Alumni Hall, Formal Attire, Limehouse, Freefourintent, and Outta Here are also expected to run.