02/12/2005 12:00AM

Scipion a star on the rise

Louis Hodges Jr.
Scipion, with Gary Stevens riding, rallies from last to win the Risen Star Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths over Real Dandy.

NEW ORLEANS - Scipion flashed the kind of credentials on Saturday that could earn him a ticket to Kentucky, unleashing an explosive stretch run to win going away in the Grade 3, $150,000 at Fair Grounds.

Appearing hopelessly beaten at the back of the pack turning for home, Scipion closed like a rocket under Gary Stevens through the long Fair Grounds stretch to collar the leaders close to the wire and win by 1 1/4 lengths. He paid $22.20.

"At the top of the stretch I was just hoping to hit the board," said Stevens. "As we approached the finish line I realized we were going to win."

Scipion was not among the three horses in the field listed as single entries in Pool 1 of this weekend's Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but he is sure to be in Pool 2. The Risen Star is the final local prep race for the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 12.

A son of A.P. Indy trained by Patrick Biancone, Scipion looked spectacular warming up for the race, but when the gates opened he broke far behind the leaders, who fought for position on the first turn.

Electric Light, Storm Surge, Silent Bid, and Bold Lion all tried for the front going into the first turn. Down the backstretch, jockey Robby Albarado took Storm Surge back behind Electric Light, who was pushed on by Larry Melancon through a quarter-mile in 23.50 seconds and a half-mile in 46.75. Silent Bid, who kept pressing the pace, finally put a head in front at the six-furlong mark in 1:11.61.

At the half-mile pole, Scipion was still dead last.

"I thought I had left him too much to do," said Stevens.

Nearing the stretch, Albarado sent Storm Surge after the leaders. Silent Bid quit, but Electric Light ran on through the stretch and Storm Surge wore him down at the sixteenth pole, putting a head in front. But Real Dandy surged past in deep stretch, and then Scipion rushed by them all, hitting the wire in 1:44.54 for the 1 1/16 miles. Real Dandy beat Storm Surge by a neck for place, with Electric Light another neck back in fourth.

"At the sixteenth pole I thought I might have had it won," said Albarado. "But the other two got there."

Iced Out was another half-length back in fifth, in turn three-quarters of a length in front of favored Harlington, who raced wide and never threatened. Silent Bid, Rush Bay, Smooth Bid, Buzzards Bay and Bold Lion completed the order of finish.