07/30/2007 12:00AM

Shermeen wins head bob


SANTA ROSA, Calif. - The Irish-bred Shermeen ($13.80) won a head bob from Gentle Charmer to capture the 37th running of the $56,985 Luther Burbank Handicap at the Sonoma County Fair on Saturday.

"When their heads go up and down, up and down as you approach the wire, you're lucky when you win," said winning jockey Frank Alverado.

Shermeen sat behind pacesetting Snowdrop all the way around the track in the 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares. She put her head in front at the eighth pole and held off a vigorous challenge by Gentle Charmer through the lane to win by a nose in 1:45.14 on a firm course. Round Trip Flight was third another three lengths back.

Alvarado explained that Shermeen's trainer, Paddy Gallagher, left him a message with instructions to avoid going for the lead, "so we just sat there," Alvarado said.

Shermeen, who recorded both her first stakes win and first win in the United States, earned $29,580 increasing her lifetime earnings to $130,696.