12/15/2008 12:00AM

Peppers Pride may not be done


Joe Allen and trainer Joel Marr are still leaning toward retiring the undefeated Peppers Pride after a two-hour meeting Monday morning, but the career performance she turned in while winning her 19th consecutive race Sunday at Sunland Park has given them reason to pause.

"I think we're probably going with our original plan," Marr said, but "it sure has had an affect on the decision for a little while here. We'll cool off in a day or two."

"Just when you think you're ready to make decisions, and then, golly, things change," quipped Allen, who bred and owns Peppers Pride.

Peppers Pride, 5, earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 98 for her 5 3/4-length rout of the $125,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap at Sunland. She went over $1 million in earnings with the victory, which padded her modern North American record for consecutive wins. She set the mark in her 17th race, on Oct. 4 at Zia.

Peppers Pride ($3.80) on Sunday sat several lengths off the pace in the New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap, as Negotiablafections dueled with Complete Pride through an opening quarter in 22.36 seconds. Negotiablafections shook her pace rival soon after, just as Peppers Pride began to launch her bid midway on the turn. Peppers Pride then moved to the lead in the stretch and pulled away in the final sixteenth, covering the six furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.54.

"She exploded late when I asked her," said Carlos Madeira, who has ridden Peppers Pride in all of her races. "I had as much horse as I could have ever wanted."

Marr liked the authoritative nature of the win. As a rule, Peppers Pride has not been one to win by large margins.

"I thought she ran an awesome race," he said. "When Carlos asked her, she immediately made a huge move. She just passed them in a matter of a few strides. She ran one of her best races."

Peppers Pride, who is scheduled to gallop Tuesday, will soon have an exam to test her "breeding soundness," and decisions will follow, Marr said. He noted that there are two upcoming races at Sunland that would suit Peppers Pride, but the one he and Allen would prefer for her, the $100,000 Sydney Valentini Handicap for New Mexico-bred fillies and mares at a mile, is not until March 22.

"There's not a lot of options anywhere close, time-wise or mile-wise, that we would be looking for," Marr said.

Allen on Monday afternoon was thumbing through a stallion directory, looking at prospects for Peppers Pride. He said he is most interested in sons of A.P. Indy. Peppers Pride is a daughter of the Fappiano stallion Desert God and her dam is Lady Pepper, a daughter of Chili Pepper. Allen said Peppers Pride could be bred to a stallion in Kentucky or to one in New Mexico.

"There's still a remote possibility that we might breed her in the state and stay with the state program," he said.

Peppers Pride earned $75,000 for the win Sunday, which pushed her career bankroll to $1,066,085. She has raced exclusively in New Mexico-bred company during her career, which was launched in a trial race at Ruidoso Downs in July 2005. She is one of the most popular New Mexico-breds in history, along with the recently retired Rocky Gulch, who ranks as the all-time richest New Mexico-bred Thoroughbred with earnings of $1.1 million.

Negotiablafections held second in the New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap, finishing 3 3/4 lengths in front of third-place finisher Hang Glide.