06/18/2005 12:00AM

Indian Ocean wins Affirmed Handicap


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Indian Ocean scored his first stakes win and third consecutive victory in Saturday's $102,998 for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park.

Ridden confidently by Jon Court, Indian Ocean ($12.40) outfinished a determined Surf Cat to win by a neck, finishing 1 1-16 miles in 1:42.53. Dover Dere finished third, five lengths in front of Buzzards Bay in the field of four. Buzzards Bay won the Santa Anita Derby in April and was fifth in the Kentucky Derby.

Indian Ocean stalked Dover Dere through early fractions of 23.28 and 46.57 seconds. ON the final turn and in early stretch, the quartet was separated by a half-length. Buzzards Bay was on the rail, with Dover Dere, Indian Ocean and Surf Cat to his outside.

Indian Ocean took a head advantage in the final furlong, while continuing to race wide, and held off the late rally from Surf Cat.

Owned by Mercedes Stable and trained by Jay Robbins, Indian Ocean has won three of four starts and $125,940. Robbins said Indian Ocean will be pointed for the $400,000 Swaps Stakes for 3-year-olds over 1 1-8 miles on July 9.

*In the $78,600 Quicken Tree Stakes, Continental Red, 9, ended a 20-race losing streak dating back to the 2003 Quicken Tree Stakes.

Ridden by Rene Douglas, Continental Red ($4.80) rallied from sixth on the final turn before drawing off to win by five lengths. He finished 1 1-2 miles on turf in 2:27.10 in the race for state-breds. Perfect Mode finished second, two lengths in front of Running Free.