10/08/2006 12:00AM

Star Dabbler, Cielo Gold dead heat in Indiana Derby


Facing what appeared to be imminent defeat in the final sixteenth, Star Dabbler took one final lunge at Cielo Gold and finished on even terms with that rival in the Grade 2, $500,000 at Hoosier Park Saturday night. The dead heat was the first in the 12-year history of the race.

Star Dabbler, making his first start in a two-turn race, grabbed the early lead and maintained a steady advantage until the stretch when the late-charging Cielo Gold poked his head in front inside the eighth-pole. Under an aggressive ride by Richard Migliore, Star Dabbler found just enough in the final yards to come back on the inside of Cielo Gold, who was ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. Smokeyjonessutton finished five lengths back in third.

The disappointment of the Indiana Derby was Bright One, the once-beaten colt who was bet down to 3-5 following the early scratches of two logical contenders, Dr. Pleasure and Lewis Michael. Bright One was three-wide entering the first turn, where he brushed hard with longshot Acts Like a King. Bright One then found himself five paths off the rail in the run down the backside, and failed to adequately respond as the field rounded the final turn. Bright One was never a factor in the lane and finished seventh.

The Indiana Derby was the first stakes win for both Star Dabbler and Cielo Gold. In his only other stakes appearance, Star Dabbler had finished second in the King's Bishop at Saratoga to Henny Hughes, who won the Vosburgh at Belmont earlier on Saturday. Cielo Gold's best finish in three previous stakes tries was a second to Bright One in the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer.

Start Dabbler, who is trained by Michael Hushion, paid $4.60, while the Hal Wiggins-trained Cielo Gold paid $5. Final time for 1 1/16 miles on a fast track was 1:42.84

*Upsets occurred in the other two stakes on the derby day card. In the $104,500 Schaefer Mile, Going Wild tracked the pacesetting Iosilver, took over from that rival entering the stretch, and held on for 2 1/2 length win over Sampson's Son. M B Sea, the 2-1 favorite, made a belated rally to finish third, three-quarters of a length behind Sampson Son.

The Schaefer was the first win in 8 starts this year for Going Wild ($19.20), who is trained by D. Wayne Lukas and was ridden by Corey Lanerie. The final time was 1:36.45.

In the $40,000 Gus Grissom Stakes for Indiana-breds, Indy Two broke on top and stayed there throughout the 1 1/16-mile trip, defeating 36-1 shot Commanding Heights by a length. Liepers Fork finished third, while 1-2 favorite Pass Rush wound of fifth after a slow start.

Indy Two, a 3-year-old who had just a maiden victory in three starts since commencing his career on Aug. 19, paid $21.40.