09/16/2004 11:00PM

Fusaichi Rock Star Futurity headliner


ELMONT, N.Y. - Bob Baffert believes Fusaichi Rock Star will, in time, be worthy of such a grandiose name. Whether his time will come in Sunday's Grade 2 at Belmont Park remains to be seen.

Fusaichi Rock Star, a son of Wild Wonder, appears to have caught a modest field of juvenile colts in the $300,000 Futurity, a one-turn mile race at Belmont Park.

Fusaichi Rock Star broke slowly in both of his career starts. He was unable to overcome it when third to Wetherly in a July 24 maiden race at Del Mar. Two weeks later, Fusaichi Rock Star did overcome a slow beginning to win a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race by three-quarters of a length.

"He sort of reminds me a lot of Silver Charm," Baffert said, referring to his 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner. "The more racing, the older he gets, he'll get better. We're taking one step at a time. Why not run him in the one-turn mile, then we'll go further with him. I know he's very talented; in time it'll come out."

Baffert and owner Fusao Sekiguchi will be here to watch Fusaichi Rock Star run on Sunday. Fusaichi Rock Star will break from post 4 under new rider Kent Desormeaux.

Evil Minister, Park Avenue Ball, and Upscaled - the top three finishers in the Grade 3 Sapling at Monmouth - will meet again in the Futurity. After finishing fourth in his debut, Evil Minister added Lasix, and has won two straight. He displayed an explosive closing kick when rallying from last behind fast fractions in the Sapling.

"One of the assets that the horse really has is his mental fortitude," trainer Erik Juvonen said. "He's willing to relax, eat some dirt. He's kind of a bulldog. He'll go between horses, split horses. I thought it was an impressive kick on the day. It's yet to be proven whether that kick is going to be sufficient to cope with what he's got to cope with on Sunday."

Wallstreet Scandal was very professional winning his maiden by 3 3/4 lengths at Saratoga. Wallstreet Scandal must stretch out from 5 1/2 furlongs to one mile in the Futurity.

"He's an interesting horse. He's very, very laid back, he doesn't tout himself at all," trainer Rick Violette said. "He does what he's asked to do and nothing more. He was like an older horse when he ran. He took some dirt, angled out, and said see you later."

Comacina, a filly who won her maiden by eight lengths when blinkers were added, takes on males for the first time.