09/28/2013 9:23PM

Stockton: Heavy favorite Marks Mine works hard to win Harvest

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William G. Vassar
Marks Mine, under Frank Alvarado, outfights 36-1 rail-hugging Kitty Marie to win the Harvest Stakes.

As expected, odds-on favorite Marks Mine won the $63,750 Harvest Stakes at the San Joaquin Fair in Stockton on Saturday.

But few expected her to win the way she did, dueling head-and-head the entire six furlongs of the stakes for fillies and mares with longest shot on the board, 36-1 Kitty Marie, before edging away late for a one-half length victory in 1:09.48.

Marks Mine ($3) broke alertly from the outside No. 7 post, but Kitty Marie was determined to get the lead from the rail. She led by a head through a 22.31-second opening quarter and 44.53 half-mile as the two turned the stales into a match race.

The multiple stakes-winning Marks Mine stuck her head in front in the lane, but it was only in the final 100 yards that she began to prove her superiority.

Twitter Pie was third, another five lengths back in the field of seven.

“She scared the heck out of me,” said winning trainer Steve Specht of Kitty Marie. “I didn’t anybody would go that hard early. I wasn’t worried until the eighth pole when I saw she wasn’t giving way.”

Specht credited jockey Frank Alvarado with a heady ride by not trying to force Marks Mine to take the lead.

“Frank did the right thing,” he said. “He took her back instead of going for the lead.”

The 3-year-old Marks Mine, a Cal-bred daughter of Benchmark, earned $40,250 with her sixth win in 12 starts. She has now earned $270,270 for owner-breeders  Larry and Marianne Williams.