03/24/2007 12:00AM

Helpful advice sparks Charm the Giant's upset


SAN MATEO, Calif. – A morning phone call to old friend Alex Solis helped Frank Alvarado guide favored Charm the Giant ($4.60) to a dramatic victory in the $54,425 Hillsborough Handicap at Bay Meadows on Saturday.

Charm the Giant ran down Strong Faith and Somethinaboutlaura in the stretch to win the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares by a head in 1:45.60.

Somethinaboutlaura, the highweight at 126 pounds, got the lead in the lane after sitting off the slow pace of stablemate Gemstone. Strong Faith headed her inside the sixteenth pole before Charm the Giant rallied to win by a head with Strong Faith three-quarters of a length in front of Somethinaboutlaura.

"I called my old friend Alex Solis, and he said she can do anything, run inside or outside, just be patient." Alvarado said. "He said last time she made a quick move and flattened out. You have to wait for the right moment then make your move."

The Irish-bred 5-year-old mare finished second via a disqualification in her last start in the Tuzla Handicap at Santa Anita on Jan. 24. Saturday's victory was her initial stakes win and fifth victory in 12 starts. She earned $28,550 to increase her bankroll to $227,834.