06/23/2012 7:31PM

Hollywood Park: Potesta noses out Eden's Moon in Hollywood Oaks

Shigeki Kikkawa
Potesta (6) barely holds off Eden's Moon to capture the Hollywood Oaks in her stakes debut.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Potesta is learning quickly what it takes to maintain a winning streak.

Making her stakes debut in her third start, Potesta fought off a sustained threat from even-money favorite Eden’s Moon through the stretch to win the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks by a nose on Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Potesta ($9.80) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.22.

Eden’s Moon, the winner of the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita in March, led to deep stretch but could not hold off Potesta.

Under the allowance conditions of the race, Eden’s Moon carried 119 pounds, six pounds more than Potesta.

Potesta won a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles by 11 1/2 lengths  in her second start on May 3, giving trainer Mike Mitchell an excuse to try the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks.

“She’s a big gigantic filly that’s easy to train,” Mitchell said. “She’s not hard on herself.”

Potesta, by Macho Uno, led throughout her maiden race win, but raced as a stalker in the Hollywood Oaks.

Eden’s Moon set a pace of 23.56 and 47.11 seconds for the first half-mile, closely tracked by Willa B Awesome. Potesta, the second choice in the betting, moved into second after six furlongs, racing within a head of Eden’s Moon, who is trained by Bob Baffert. The two ran together for the rest of the race.

“Joe gave her a million-dollar ride,” trainer Mike Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he wanted Potesta close to Eden’s Moon throughout, fearing that the favorite could get away.

“I didn’t want to let Bob’s horse get too far in front,” Mitchell said of Eden’s Moon. “I told Joe, ‘Stay close to her.’”

Eden’s Moon finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Via Villaggio, the winner of the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes over seven furlongs on May 19.

Killer Graces was fourth, followed by Starlight Magic, Willa B Awesome, Open Water, and Customer Base.

Willa B Awesome, the winner of three stakes earlier this year, including the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks, was in tight entering the final turn and was checked. She never recovered, fading through the stretch.

Potesta races for Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino, who bought her privately last year, Mitchell said. Potesta was second in her debut at Santa Anita on March 22, and has won her last two starts. She has earned $132,400.