11/15/2003 1:00AM

Hoosier: Down by the Sea delivers


ANDERSON, Ind. - Down by the Sea proved worthy of her 6-5 favoritism by defeating nine Indiana-bred 2-year-old fillies by 1 1/4 lengths in the $74,250 Miss Indiana Stakes at Hoosier Park.

Down by the Sea, with Bill Troilo riding for trainer Joe Davis, recovered from a slow start to seize the lead in the opening quarter and then held tight to post her first stakes victory. The performance validated her gutsy nose win over Victory Punch three weeks ago, when Down by the Sea and Troilo battled head and head throughout in a nonwinners-of-two allowance.

Victory Punch was never far back while hemmed in along the rail of the six-furlong Miss Indiana and settled for second, a nose in front of Belle of Indiana. Tee's Pearl, second choice at 2-1, was another head back in fourth.

Down by the Sea returned $4.40 and finished in 1:13.38 over a fast track. Before her Oct. 26 allowance win, she finished second in the Bassinet Stakes at River Downs. She is 3-1-1 from five starts, with earnings of more than $82,000.