02/12/2011 5:50PM

Potosina changes tactics to take Maryland Racing Media

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Sheldon Russell guides Potosina to her second straight stakes victory in the Maryland Racing Media.

Her tactics may have been completely different, but Potosina produced the same results as she did three weeks earlier by earning her second straight stakes victory in Saturday’s $50,000 Maryland Racing Media Stakes at Laurel Park.

Unlike the one-mile Nellie Morse on Jan. 22, in which she was taken back to last in a five-horse field and made up 8 1/2 lengths in the last half-mile, Potosina ($4.80) was sent to the front by jockey Sheldon Russell in the 1 1/8-mile Maryland Racing Media and set tepid fractions of 25.41 and 49.98 seconds.

“After I saw that first quarter, I felt a lot better,” said trainer Mark Shuman. “I wouldn’t have wanted to been five lengths back with that kind of quarter. It was a real heads-up ride by Sheldon.”

Russell said he was instructed to keep dirt out of Potosina’s face as much as possible and when nobody else aggressively bid for the early lead, he took it upon himself to allow Potosina to clear while setting a slow pace.

“Going into the first turn no one had really cleared me, so I just went on and slowed it down as much as I could and just kicked away,” Russell said. “She was always comfortable. That horse was always right next to her, keeping her focused. She has a tendency to lose focus and get distracted but not today.

“She’s very versatile,” Russell said. “Coming from behind or being in front, it doesn’t really matter.”

Potosina, a 4-year-old daughter of Cactus Ridge owned by Pozo de Luna Inc., put away a challenge from the pace-pressing Kit Kats Luck and finished three-quarters of a length clear of late-rallying Blessed Soul while completing the nine furlongs in 1:53.85. It was Potosina’s third career stakes win and her fifth win overall in 13 starts.

Princess Nyla finished third in a field of seven older fillies and mares.