The victory in the Natalma guarantees a spot for C Karma in the inaugural running of the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita Oct. 24. She is Breeders' Cup nominated.
The Natalma was the first of four "Win and You're In" Breeders' Cup Challenge races for the 2-year-old filly grass event. The others are the Fillies Mile (Eng-I) from Ascot Sept. 27, Belmont Park's Miss Grillo (gr. IIIT) Sept. 28, and the JP Morgan Chase Jessamine Oct. 9 at Keeneland.
Trained by Gregory de Gannes for owner/breeder Pamela F. Edel, C Karma raced on turf for the first time in her five-race career in the Natalma while producing her second victory. She has yet to finish out of the money.
Jono Jones, riding C Karma for the first time, kept the daughter of Exchange Rate within striking distance into the stretch and moved into contention with a five-wide move. When pacesetter Laragh tired, C Karma rallied to take the lead from Koonunga Hill in deep stretch while under steady urging. She got to the wire ahead of the surprising maiden Freyga, who just missed with a big turn of foot in the final stages along the inside.
Koonunga Hill was third in a tight finish, three-quarters of a length behind. The misfortunate After the Applause, who drifted out badly leaving the final turn but rallied again on the extreme outside through the lane, missed the show spot by a neck. Lady Shakespeare, the 17-10 favorite in the field of 10, raced at the back of the pack before passing a few in the stretch and finishing a non-threatening sixth.
C Karma completed the one-mile distance in 1:40.74 over the soft going. Laragh's quarter-mile splits were :23.30, :47.34 and 1:12.60 before she weakened in the final furlong.
The Florida-bred winner, ridden in all her previous starts by David Clark, was coming off a third-place finish in the Ontario Debutante on Polytrack, where she lost by just 1 1/4 lengths in her first race against winners. The dark bay filly has raced exclusively at Woodbine. The victory boosted her earnings to $161,100.
De Gannes also trains Southern Exchange, another 2-year-old by Exchange Rate who recently ran fourth in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) and is a hopeful for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Oct. 25.
“For all of those listening from Three Chimneys, Exchange Rate is most definitely my favorite stallion,” said De Gannes. “I always thought (C Karma) was a high-quality filly. She’s a homebred. There’s nothing more pleasing (for an owner) then having a homebred jump up and do this.”
In the Ontario Debutante, C Karma was shuffled back on the turn and was forced to circle horses to get back into contention. She closed strongly in the stretch but could not quite catch the victorious Juliet's Spirit.
“It was a rough trip,” said De Gannes. “Racing luck sometimes is on your side, sometimes not on your side. As it was today, it was on our side.”
Sent off as the distant second choice in the Natalma, C Karma paid $11.70, $6.20, and $4.40.
Freyga, who ran third in the Ice Water, a seven-furlong Woodbine turf stakes Aug. 24 for trainer Michael Doyle, returned $28.80 and $13. She was part of a $2 exacta that was worth a whopping $339.20.
Jockey Justin Stein was encouraged by the runner-up's effort.
"We had a perfect trip,” he said. “At one point, when the other horses started stopping, I knew we had third. Then, I knew we had second. She just kept plugging away and didn't give up. She might have been 45-1, but I knew she would run better than the odds showed. She ran a good turf race last time out and I expected her to be even better this time and she was."
Koonunga Hill, who won the Ice Water by a nose for conditioner Steve Owens, was $6.30 to show.
After the Applause was followed by Laragh, Lady Shakespeare, Milwaukee Appeal, Panther Strike, Triple Flip and Poppin, who tailed off behind the field early on the final turn. Vegas Wedding scratched.
C Karma is out of C B Carm, by Slick.
Earlier on the Woodbine program, favored Mine That Bird, ridden by Chantal Sutherland, won the $146,120 Swynford Stakes for 2-year-olds in a three-way photo finish.
Mine That Bird ($5.30), a Birdstone gelding trained by David Cotey for Dominion Bloodstock and partners, defeated Win and Reign by a neck with El Brujo another neck behind in third. The final time for the seven furlongs on Polytrack was 1:23.52.
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