Jockey Rene Douglas thought he had Saturday's $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne measured with Bare Necessities poised for a late-running victory. But he didn't account for the tenacity of Allspice.
Douglas, whose mount was beaten by a head as the 1-5 favorite, couldn't explain it. "I have no excuse. Everything went perfectly, just like we had planned. I thought I had them measured perfectly turning for home and she showed a lot of heart at the end. I we getting close at the wire but I couldn't get past (Allspice)."
Allspice, ridden by Chris Emigh, edged past pacesetter Mavoreen, who fought gamely on the inside at mid-stretch as Julie's Prize dropped back. Bare Necessities, who was positioned at the rail behind the leaders, angled outside of the duo on the lead and began picking up ground quickly. At the wire though, it was Allspice a head in front of Bare Necessities while Mavoreen held well for third. Allspice stopped the clock for the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.66.
"On paper it didn't look like you could beat the other horse but you never know," Emigh said. "It's horseracing."
Mavoreen set early fractions of :24 1/5 and :49 to the half. Only a length back was Allspice while Bare Necessities waited on the inside two lengths back in fourth. Heading into the far turn, Mavoreen was still out front, passing the three-quarters in 1:13.57. Allspice ranged up to her on the outside along with second-choice Julie's Prize.
The win was the third for Allspice from eleven career starts for owner James Tafel and trainer Greg Geier, who won his first graded stakes race. The $150,000 winners share for the race pushed Allspice's earnings to $188,902 for her career.
Sent off at 21-1, Allspice returned $44.80, $7.20 and $2.40. 1-5 favorite Bare Necessities came back $2.60 and $2.10 while Mavoreen returned $2.80 to show.
"We thought we would take a chance," Geier said. "We knew there wouldn't be many horses coming in to run. I told Chris to stay close to the pace. I figured we'd be second or third. We just had to see what happened at the break and everything worked out right."