07/12/2009 12:00AM

Christmas Ship lands win in Alameda County


PLEASANTON, Calif. - Christmas Ship ($4.80) responded to a confident ride with a strong stretch run to score her first stakes victory, winning the Alameda County Fillies and Mares Handicap by two lengths at the Alameda County Fair on Sunday.

It was her first victory since a two-length allowance victory here last year.

Jockey Frank Alvarado, who rode Christmas Ship to the allowance victory, said he knew the 4-year-old Montbrook filly would win "when I saw the overnights."

Alvarado was content to let Welken set the pace and had only minor trouble when he steadied a bit behind the leader down the backstretch near the half-mile pole. When he asked her on the turn, she moved up willingly, putting her head in front of Welken at the eighth pole and pulling away for a two-length win over Shes a Lucky Wager while winning the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:43.98. Welken wound up third, another 2 1/4 lengths back.

"I knew she liked the track," Alvarado said. "I asked Jerry [Hollendorfer] if I could ride her. I worked her last week, and she was doing well. I knew I just mostly had to be patient."

Christmas Ship, now 3 for 25 for owners Erik Amlie, George Todaro, and Hollendorfer, earned $31,000, increasing her career total to $184,860.