07/28/2013 9:47PM

Santa Rosa: Good Karma gets first U.S. win in Luther Burbank Handicap

William G. Vassar
Good Karma (right) won Sunday's Luther Burbank Handicap in her second start for trainer Ben Cecil.

The Italian-bred Good Karma ($11.80) scored her first victory in the United States as she re-rallied after being headed in the stretch by odds-on favorite Halo Dolly and won a three-way photo in the $55,550 Luther Burbank Handicap at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Sunday.

On a turf course that seemed to be reverting to past form by favoring closers, Good Karma nearly went wire-to-wire. She took the lead out of the gate and led Halo Dolly by a length through the first six furlongs of the 1 1/16-mile race. Her fractions were moderate – 23.82, 48.69, and 1:14.53 – but still the fastest of the meeting on turf.

Halo Dolly, sitting in the 2 path, moved up in the lane, sticking her head in front nearing the eighth pole, but Good Karma refused to yield. She dug in and raced evenly until the final 60 yards, then began to inch away from the 3-5 favorite.

But then she had one more challenge, as Halo Dolly’s stablemate, Lady Aspen, made a belated bid but fell a head short. Halo Dolly was another neck back in third. The final time was 1:47.32.

Good Karma was winless in five U.S. starts dating back to 2011. The 5-year-old mare by Tobougg was off for 364 days before returning in the Redondo Beach Stakes on June 9 at Betfair Hollywood Park. But she was ready for a big effort in her second start for trainer Ben Cecil.

She earned $32,200 for owner Arnold Zucker while scoring her seventh victory in 17 starts. She has earned $307,767.