07/23/2008 12:00AM

A month loaded with racing rarities


PHILADELPHIA - The last two weekends gave us two of the great racing stories in America. And neither had anything to do with Curlin or Big Brown.

Saturday, the ESPN racing crew will be all over the Whitney, Vanderbilt, Diana, and Go for Wand at Saratoga. I think they are in the wrong place. They really need to be at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday.

Some horse wins those graded stakes races every year. There will be a 5-year-old mare carrying 127 pounds going for history in New Mexico.

Before getting into the greatest New Mexico-bred of all time, I saw two horses in the Mid-Atlantic over the last two weekends that have made their own brand of history.

How many horses have won races at 4 1/2 furlongs, five furlongs, six furlongs, seven furlongs, one mile,

1 1/16 miles, 1 1/8 miles, and 1 1/4 miles? Without doing all the research, I would contend not many. And in recent times, I would suggest none - until Hystericalady won the 1 1/4-mile Delaware Handicap on

July 13.

Hystericalady did not just win the race. She owned it, getting a 108 Beyer Speed Figure, two Beyer points off her career best. She has won at eight different tracks from coast to coast. She is 10 for 20 lifetime, with $2.1 million in earnings.

I have seen Zenyatta enough to know how good she is, but that division is loaded. I can't wait to see all those great fillies and mares line up at Santa Anita on the Friday of Breeders' Cup weekend.

Hystericalady has not won in four artificial surface races, which could mean something at Santa Anita. Or, judging by her recent form, she may be just now hitting her peak as a 5-year-old.

Which brings us to a horse that may just be hitting his peak as a 10-year-old. Again, I can't verify this with absolute certainty, but I am thinking there have not been many double-digit horses with triple-digit Beyers.

The amazing Evening Attire now has two triple-digit Beyers in his last two races, both as a 10-year-old. The old boy made his debut with an 80 Beyer on July 16, 2000. On July 19, 2008, Evening Attire got a 103 Beyer when he crushed the field in the 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup at Philadelphia Park, winning by 8 1/4 lengths. In his prior start, Evening Attire got a 105 Beyer when second in the Brooklyn.

The Greenwood win gave Evening Attire an automatic spot in the new BC Marathon and over $2.9 million in earnings over 69 starts, which include a win in the 2002 Jockey Club Gold Cup. I don't know if they will ship the horse across the country to run on a synthetic track in the Marathon, but whatever they do with Evening Attire, this is a horse that has cemented his place in horse racing and Beyer history.

Speaking of history, what do Citation, Cigar, Hallowed Dreams, Mister Frisky, and Peppers Pride have in common. Today, a lot. After Sunday, I am thinking Peppers Pride will be in a class all her own.

The 5-year-old mare has started 16 times and won 16 times; those other four horses also won 16 straight. I probably would not like Peppers Pride in a match race with any of the other four, as her career-high Beyer is 95. But I do like her in the $55,000 Lincoln Handicap for New Mexico-breds, even if she is carrying 127 pounds. Hey, she won with the same weight on April 26 when she was 2-5.

Peppers Pride won three times as a 2-year-old when you could have gotten 4-1, 5-1, and 5-2. She was favored in all four of her 3-year-old starts. She went 7 for 7 last year and has won twice in 2008. She has won at 5 1/2 furlongs, six furlongs, 6 1/2 furlongs, and a mile.

Seems to me the Breeders' Cup really needs to include another race on Ladies' Day, say a seven-furlong race for New Mexico-breds.

Really, let's say Big Brown and Curlin both appear for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic in top form (we can hope). You need a race of equal importance on BC Friday. Can you imagine the hype if Peppers Pride is going for her 20th consecutive win in the first $1 million race for New Mexico-breds.

The great mare will be closing in on $900,000 if she gets her 17th consecutive victory Sunday. Sadly, the Tiger Woods of New Mexico-breds has no Jack Nicklaus to shoot for. Peppers Pride's only measuring stick is Peppers Pride.