Updated on 09/18/2011 12:13AM

Strong Faith prevails in Hillsborough Handicap

Vassar Photography
Strong Faith (center) wins the $69,050 Hillsborough Handicap at Bay Meadows on Saturday.

SAN MATEO, Calif. - Strong Faith ($10.40), compromised by a wide trip in her last start, was able to save ground and made a strong move in the lane to win a three-way photo in the $69,050 Hillsborough Handicap at Bay Meadows on Saturday.

"When you have turf horses, you have to have a good trip, especially with a closer," winning trainer John Martin said. "The mare is doing so well, she just needed some luck, and we got the luck we needed to get up in time."

Eleanor Rose opened early in the one-mile turf race for fillies and mares. Strong Faith sat a bit closer than she has recently and began to move up on the second turn.

She moved two wide and had a clear path in the lane as she took aim on Eleanor Rose. Meanwhile, Sky Dreams, who sat behind Strong Faith early, made a strong run after a three-wide trip around the second turn and was closing best of all from the outside.

At the wire, Strong Faith was a neck in front of Sky Dreams, who was a nose in front of Eleanor Rose. The winning time was 1:36.34.

"Today was a little less competitive (than the Grade 3 Yerba Buena in Strong Faith's last start) so I wanted to get her a little closer," winning jockey Roberto Gonzalez said. "On the backstretch, I saw a hole and made a move. I was able to save ground on the second turn, and everything opened up at the head of the lane."

Strong Faith won her third stakes since being claimed for $32,000 on Jan. 26. The victory, worth $35,750, was her eighth in 33 starts and lifted her career earnings to $212,828.