12/09/2008 1:00AM

Peppers Pride adds star power


Sunland Park's opening weekend received a significant boost Tuesday, when Peppers Pride was entered in the $125,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap after breezing at the track earlier in the morning. The undefeated mare will be going for her 19th consecutive win when she starts in the six-furlong race Sunday.

"That's a great kickoff for us," said Harold Payne, general manager of Sunland.

Peppers Pride worked three furlongs in 37 seconds at Sunland on Tuesday, and provided she comes out of the drill in good order, plans are to run, trainer Joel Marr said.

"As long as everything is good, that's what we're looking at," he said. "She's really done well the last couple of weeks. She's training well and wanting to go, so right now, everything looks great."

Payne said Sunland, which opens its meet Friday, is planning to distribute posters Sunday featuring a photo of Peppers Pride in one of her wins at Sunland.

"We're doing a poster giveaway to commemorate her possible last race," Payne said.

Marr and Joe Allen, who bred and owns Peppers Pride, have both indicated that the 5-year-old mare is nearing the end of her career. She could be making her final start Sunday, but no concrete decision has been made, Marr said.

"We're still looking at stallions in Kentucky and deciding what we want to do," he said.

Peppers Pride drew post 6 in a field of eight statebred fillies and mares for the New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap. Carlos Madeira has the mount on Peppers Pride, the 126-pound highweight, who will spot her rivals seven to 13 pounds. The race will go as the 10th, at 4 p.m. Mountain.

Peppers Pride set a modern North American record for consecutive Thoroughbred wins on Oct. 4, when she won her 17th straight race in a $35,000 optional claimer at Zia Park.