A $1.9-million filly has put together consecutive stakes victories, an indication to her handlers that her record purchase price might have been worthwhile.
Atlantic Ocean's three-quarter-length victory Sunday at Santa Anita in the $110,900 Santa Ysabel Stakes came on the heels of a grass victory at Hollywood Park in November. Before that, the 3-year-old filly had been beaten by 44 lengths in three consecutive losses, including a next-to-last finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Atlantic Ocean was first sold as a yearling, to James Chapman for $31,000. Last March, at a Barretts sale in Pomona, the Thoroughbred Corp. bought the horse for a seven-figure price that was a record for a filly sold at auction.
Paying $5 as the favorite in a six-horse field, Atlantic Ocean was ridden by David Flores, who won the first three races on the card before being blanked for the rest of the day. Atlantic Ocean has four wins in nine starts and purses of $301,320. Bob Baffert, Atlantic Ocean's trainer, won Saturday's feature with Congaree in the San Pasqual Handicap.
Sea Jewel, winless since breaking her maiden at Del Mar, finished second, one length ahead of Summer Wind Dancer.
"[Flores] is in a zone right now," Baffert said. "He's riding with a lot of confidence. He knew he was sitting on a really good horse."
Later on the card, trainer Jenine Sahadi and jockey Julie Krone teamed to end Spinelessjellyfish's 13-race losing streak as the 7-year-old beat Macward by a neck in the $108,300 Sensational Star Handicap. It was the first time in Santa Anita history that a female trainer and jockey combined to win a stake. On opening day, Dec. 26, Krone won the Malibu with Debonair Joe to become the first female rider to win a Grade I race at Santa Anita.