12/08/2007 1:00AM

La Mina beats Christmas Ship - and Sky Mystic

EmailALBANY, Calif. - La Mina rallied strongly in the stretch to wear down pacesetting Christmas Ship and capture the $75,000 Corte Madera Stakes on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.

Winner of the Hidden Lite on the turf at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meet two starts back, La Mina kept favored Sky Mystic pinned inside of her as they chased Christmas Ship, who took the lead under a snug hold in the one-mile race for 2-year-old fillies. La Mina won by 2 1/2 lengths over Christmas Ship in 1:38.07. La Mina, who is trained by Mike Mitchell and owned by the M & B Partnership LLC, paid $6.80.

"They told me to let her be comfortable," winning jockey Carlos Gonzalez said. "They told me to pay attention to Sky Mystic because she was the horse to watch."

Sky Mystic bumped with La Mina several times, but Gonzalez held his ground rather than ask her too soon. As Sky Mystic began to labor, Gonzalez sat chilly before making his move at the quarter pole.

"She did everything right. She did everything beautiful," Gonzalez said. "Going down the line, she switched leads. I only hit her because it was her first time on this track, and I wanted her to keep her mind on business."

The victory, worth $45,000, was La Mina's third in nine starts. She increased her earnings to $147,601.