05/13/2004 12:00AM

Chapter 2 in tale of two fillies


ELMONT, N.Y. - In the 2003 Acorn, Final Round ran the best race of her career and Storm Flag Flying ran her worst. On Saturday at Belmont, Final Round and Storm Flag Flying will meet for the first time since the one-mile Acorn in the Grade 2 Shuvee Handicap.

Those two will face four others in the one-mile race.

finished third in the Acorn, beaten a length by the winner, Bird Town, who was later named champion 3-year-old filly. Lady Tak finished a head behind Bird Town.

After finishing fourth in the Test, Final Round was given the rest of the year off to recover from a wrenched ankle. She posted her first victory this year in her third start, coming from off the pace in a seven-furlong race at Keeneland April 8.

"I think her best race was here in the Acorn," said Rusty Arnold, Final Round's trainer. "The one turn is what she wants, and she has trained very well for this race."

After finishing sixth in the Acorn, , the champion 2-year-old filly in 2002, didn't race again until February. She won an optional claimer in her return at Gulfstream and was third in the Distaff Breeders' Cup at Aqueduct last month. She seeks her first stakes win since the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in 2002 at Arlington Park.

Shug McGaughey, Storm Flag Flying's trainer, said he is pleased with her training since the Distaff and believes a return to a mile at Belmont is an ideal spot for her.

Roar Emotion, who won the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan a year ago at Pimlico, is coming off a third in the Doubledogdare at Keeneland on April 16. She is cross-entered in Friday's Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff but is expected to run in the Shuvee.

Kiaran McLaughlin, Roar Emotion's trainer, said his filly's chances in the Doubledogdarewere compromised because she raced wide.

"It's about speed on the rail at Keeneland and she was three wide the whole race," McLaughlin said. "I thought she ran great."

Roar Emotion, the likely pacesetter, and Passing Shot each carry 117 pounds as the co-highweights.

Allen Jerkens entered Passing Shot, who got through on the rail to win the Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup by 2 1/4 lengths at Aqueduct last month.

Elegant Mercedes and Cherokee Lite complete the field.