01/25/2003 12:00AM

Oaks: Atlantic Ocean defeats Ivanavinalot

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Atlantic Ocean scored her third straight victory by wearing down a courageous Ivanavinalot in the final strides to capture the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.

A torrid pace set by Humorous Lady, with Ivanavinalot in close attendance, suited Atlantic Ocean. She was tipped four paths wide at the top of the stretch, but needed almost the entire stretch run to get past Ivanavinalot and win by 1 1/2 lengths. Humorous Lady faded to third, 2 1/2 lengths behind Ivanavinalot.

Atlantic Ocean ($7.80), the second choice, was timed in 1:23.03 for seven furlongs on the fast main track. Atlantic Ocean, who was purchased last year for $1.9 million, has now won five of 10 starts for trainer Bob Baffert and the late Prince Ahmed Salman's The Thoroughbred Corporation. She was bred in Florida, but is based in California.

Ivanavinalot, the 7-5 favorite, was making her first start since Oct. 12, and shipped in from her home base at Calder. She seemed grossly uncomfortable with the track, switching leads repeatedly throughout the race.

"It was a tough race off a long layoff, but she almost pulled it off," said Ivanavinalot's trainer, Kathleen O'Connell.