02/29/2016 1:06PM

Full sisters sweep exacta at Sunland


The stars aligned for some of the connections of the undefeated New Mexico-bred millionaire Peppers Pride on Saturday night at Sunland Park, with Zasha edging full sister Desert Stepper by a head to sweep the exacta in the stakes named for the mare.

Both runners are trained by Joel Marr, who conditioned the race’s namesake, and were bred by Joe Allen, who campaigned Peppers Pride as a homebred. The daughters of the late stallion Desert God – who also sired Peppers Pride – are the only two starters out of the winning Smoke Glacken mare Thanks for Smokin.

Zasha, who races for C. Donnell Echols, pushed her earnings past $250,000 with the victory. The 5-year-old mare won her second event named for Peppers Pride, having also taken the Peppers Pride New Mexico Classic Cup Championship Fillies and Mares Stakes in 2014 at Zia Park. Desert Stepper, 4, is co-owned by Allen and L Squared Racing.

Marr has won three races from eight starts since Sunland resumed racing Friday after more than a month of cancellations due to an equine herpesvirus outbreak. On Friday, he saddled Dad, a Malibu Moon colt out of Peppers Pride, to finish fourth in the Mine That Bird overnight stakes. Dad is one of two starters out of Peppers Pride; her son Punctuate, by Distorted Humor, won his only start in 2014. The mare, boarded at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky, is booked to American Pharoah in the Triple Crown winner’s first season at stud.