02/13/2005 1:00AM

Fusaichi Rock Star wins San Vicente Stakes

Fusaichi Rock Star ($17) pulls an upset in Sunday's San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Fusaichi Rock Star, trainer Bob Baffert's second string hope, salvaged a disappointing weekend for the stable with an upset win in Sunday's $147,000 at Santa Anita.

Baffert had hoped to start Roman Ruler in the Grade 2 San Vicente, but the two-time stakes winner was withdrawn because of a quarter crack.

Fusaichi Rock Star ($17), the longest shot in a field of four, led throughout and won by a length over Don't Get Mad, who rallied well in the final furlong.

"We needed that," Baffert said of the result.

The victory marked Fusaichi Rock Star's first stakes win and first start since a fourth-place finish in the Cowdin Stakes at Belmont Park last October. Fusaichi Rock Star underwent a myectomy last fall to correct a breathing problem, Baffert said.

"He was displacing (his soft palette) before, but he didn't have any problems today," Baffert said.

Ridden by David Flores, Fusaichi Rock Star set fractions of 23.32 and 46.56 seconds, leading by a length on the backstretch. In the stretch, Kirkendahl cut Fusaichi Rock Star's advantage to a half-length, but could not get closer to Fusaichi Rock Star.

Don't Get Mad, making his stakes debut, closed from five lengths off the pace in the stretch to finish well. Kirkendahl finished third, followed by Consolidator, the even-money favorite.

Consolidator was making his first start since finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last October. "I thought I had him tighter than that," trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.

Fusaichi Rock Star has won 2 of 5 starts and $138,366 for owner Fusao Sekiguchi. Baffert said the Kentucky Derby is a long-term goal.