08/31/2012 2:43PM

Del Mar: Potesta sticks to plan in Torrey Pines Stakes

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Potesta (left) outfinishes Eden's Moon to win the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Potesta delivered one of the grittiest stakes wins of the Betfair Hollywood Park meeting earlier this year in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks on June 23. She outfinished Grade 1 winner Eden’s Moon by a nose in 1 1/16-mile race.

After the Hollywood Oaks, trainer Mike Mitchell could have sent Potesta to other circuits for stakes for 3-year-old fillies or tried older fillies and mares in Southern California. He opted to briefly rest Potesta and point to Sunday’s $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over a mile at Del Mar.

The Torrey Pines Stakes is a race that Mitchell and owners Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino planned for Potesta in the days after the Hollywood Oaks.

“We thought of taking on the older, but we stuck to the original schedule,” said Phil D’Amato, Mitchell’s assistant. “She skips over this track.”

Potesta has won 2 of 3 starts, including a win in a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles on May 3 by 11 1/2 lengths. She is considered by the stable as a candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, even though she has little career experience.

D’Amato said that after Sunday Potesta is likely to start against older fillies and mares in the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 29, a race formerly known as the Lady’s Secret Stakes.

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“Everything is race to race, but the plan is to run in the Zenyatta Stakes and see how she goes from there,” he said.

Joe Talamo will ride Potesta, who drew the rail in a field of eight.

The post is not an issue, D’Amato insists.

“She’s so talented and so professional,” he said. “I’m not too worried going long.”

Potesta will be favored and is one of four stakes winners in the field, joined by Killer Graces, winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet and two other stakes in 2011; and the California-breds Starlight Magic and Warren’s Amber, who were one-two in the Fleet Treat Stakes here July 28.

Killer Graces is winless in five starts this year. She was fourth behind Potesta in the Hollywood Oaks and fifth behind Eden’s Moon in the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap over a mile on turf here July 22.

Trainer Mark Glatt considered Wednesday’s CERF Stakes for fillies and mares over six furlongs for Starlight Magic, but said Thursday he is leaning toward the Torrey Pines.

“We’ll probably run Sunday,” Glatt said. “Potesta is pretty tough, but six furlongs is probably too short for her best.”