01/22/2011 5:50PM

Trouble-plagued Potosina gets clean trip in Nellie Morse

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Potosina, ridden by Sheldon Russell, draws clear to win the Nellie Morse.

Potosina has always shown flashes of talent, winning an overnight turf stakes in New York in just her third career start and earning a trip to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Lately, however, all Potosina has done is run into bad luck, getting eliminated at the start in each of her two most recent races.

In a small field of just five fillies and mares Saturday at Laurel Park, the 4-year-old Potosina avoided traffic trouble and roared from last to capture the $56,250 Nellie Morse Stakes.

Ridden for the first time by Sheldon Russell, Potosina ($24.40), the second longest shot on the board,  made a seven-wide move coming into the stretch while last and  charged down the center of the track to draw clear by 4 1/2 lengths.

The previously undefeated Music Please, who had won three in a row while racing exclusively at seven furlongs, got second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of McVictory, the 3-5 favorite who was racing just six days after finishing third in an overnight stakes in New York for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Potosina completed the one-turn mile over a fast track in 1:40.86.

“She’s just been a bad-luck horse,” said Mark Shuman, who trains Potosina for Winstar Farm. “She has been disqualified twice. It just seems no matter how good she trains in the morning something would go the wrong way in the afternoon. It is good to see her put it together.”

Potosina finished seventh in the 2009 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf and last year was third in the Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico and in Monmouth’s Desert Vixen. She ended 2010 with troubled, off-the-board efforts in two stakes at Aqueduct. Both times, Potosina was bumped coming out of the gate and never seriously threatened. Three starts ago, when she got a clean trip, Potosina won a second-level allowance going a mile and 70 yards at Parx Racing.

As a 2-year-old in 2009, she won the Good Mood on turf at Belmont Park and was third in the Blue Hen at Delaware Park. She is now 4 for 12 lifetime.

“I was able to find a nice path down the backside and keep her as clean as I can because Mark told me she doesn’t like dirt kicked in her face,” Russell said. “We got to the top of the lane, I angled her out and she came running.”