11/12/2003 12:00AM

Hoosier: Who will be Miss Indiana?


ANDERSON, Ind. - Down by the Sea and Victory Punch are rematched in a field of 12 Indiana-bred 2-year-old fillies going six furlongs in Friday's $70,000-added Miss Indiana Stakes.

Down by the Sea and Victory Punch were nearly inseparable in their first meeting here on Oct. 26. They hooked up at the start and went head and head throughout until Down by the Sea won the nonwinners-of-two allowance by a nose.

The two fillies will have their work cut out for them this time, with Down by the Sea breaking from post 10 under William Troilo and Victory Punch breaking from post 12 with Lester Knight in the saddle.

Down by the Sea, trained by Joseph Davis, won her maiden at first asking this summer at Ellis Park, then traveled to River Downs, where she finished third against allowance company. In her next start she finished second, beaten just three-quarters of a length, in the Bassinet Stakes at River Downs on Aug. 30. She was given time off after that race and returned with her game effort on Oct. 26.

Victory Punch, trained by Robert Zahl, took three tries before winning her maiden here on Sept. 17. She followed up that win with a third in the City of Anderson Stakes the first week in October.

Tee's Pearl, the City of Anderson winner, could present the biggest obstacle to these two fillies. Trained by Charles Walcott, Tee's Pearl has not been out since her City of Anderson victory, but she should get a solid pace to run at Friday. Leading rider Orlando Mojica has the mount from post 4.