07/23/2008 12:00AM

All-time win streak on the line


The undefeated Peppers Pride will set a North American mark for consecutive wins if she scores her 17th career victory in the $55,000 Lincoln Handicap at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday. But while she will be entered in the race, she is not a definite to start, her trainer, Joel Marr, said on Wednesday.

Because of the history at stake, Marr said he wants to make sure the factors he can control are 100 percent in Peppers Pride's favor leading up to the Lincoln.

"This is the only chance we get," said Marr, who trains Peppers Pride for her breeder, Joe Allen. "There's no do-overs.

"We're going to enter. We plan on running. But there are some other options if things don't work out right in the next few days. We're still seeing how she does between now and then, watching the weather, and still discussing the weight. We're still in negotiations with ourselves."

Peppers Pride will spot each of her rivals at least 11 pounds after being assigned high weight of 127 for the Lincoln, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares bred in New Mexico. The spread to the second highweight is new territory for Peppers Pride.

"Nine is the most she's ever given away to the next horse," said Marr. "I knew we were going to carry somewhere around 127 pounds. That's no big surprise. The difference between the horses is a bit of a surprise. We've got to do what we think is right for her, and go from there."

The other issue dogging Peppers Pride is the weather. Marr said he will not run her on an off track. He said July and August can be wet months in the New Mexico town of Ruidoso. If she were to scratch, Marr said another option would be the $50,000 Carlos Salazar for statebred fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs at the Downs at Albuquerque on Aug. 17. Weights for the Salazar are determined by allowance conditions.

"I'd really be able to love to run Sunday, because I'd like for it to be over," Marr said. "But I also want to make sure it's the right thing to do, and the right thing for her."

Marr has yet to make a wrong call with Peppers Pride. She has not lost a race in her career, which began in July 2005 at Ruidoso. With a win Sunday, she would surpass the mark of 16 straight wins that she shares with Cigar, Citation, Hallowed Dreams, and Mister Frisky.