05/15/2003 11:00PM

Roar Emotion wire to wire in wet Susan

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BALTIMORE - Roar Emotion took command coming out of the gate, turned back a challenge from odds-on favorite Santa Catarina at the half-mile pole, and outlasted Fircroft in deep stretch to record a half-length victory in Friday's Grade 2, $200,000 Black Eyed Susan Stakes at rainswept Pimlico.

It was 8 1/2 lengths back in third to Santa Catarina, the 4-5 favorite trained by Bob Baffert. Completing the order of finish were Ivanavinalot, Xtra Heart, Grace Bay, Blushing Valleys, and Lets Just Do It.

It was the second Grade 2 victory for Roar Emotion, a daughter of Roar, who won last year's Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct. That win came off a 43-day layoff following a loss as an odds-on favorite in allowance company.

Friday, Roar Emotion was making her first start in 55 days, or since finishing second to Cyber Secret at odds-on in the Grade 3 Cicada Stakes in March.

Carlos Martin, the trainer of Roar Emotion, said he was confident he had his filly ready to fire off the layoff and believed the wet track would not be a hindrance.

"It's good when it comes together like that," said Martin, who trains Roar Emotion for Joe Allen. "She was training so good and she's bred to love it."

It was an emotional win for Martin, who took over the training of Roar Emotion earlier this year from his father, Jose, who is suffering from cancer. Jose Martin was at Pimlico for Friday's race and the two embraced when Roar Emotion crossed the finish line.

"I got to dedicate this win to my father; he's been through a lot lately," Carlos Martin said.

Under John Velazquez, Roar Emotion broke sharply and outsprinted Ivanavinalot to make the lead entering the first turn. Roar Emotion set fractions of 23.20 seconds and 47.71.

At the half-mile pole, Gary Stevens sent Santa Catarina after Roar Emotion, but Roar Emotion spurted away from her. Roar Emotion opened up a five-length lead in the stretch, and held on despite tiring late. Roar Emotion covered the nine furlongs in 1:52.33 and returned $8.80 as the third choice.

"When that other horse came to her at the half-mile, I had to go with her a little bit going to the three-eighths pole, and she put her away," Velazquez said. "She got a little tired and she had to run hard all the way around. She ran a good race."

Martin said he would point Roar Emotion to the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park on June 28.