10/02/2008 11:00PM

Peppers Pride ready again for record run


After two false starts, Peppers Pride is back in the blocks for her shot at history. Saturday at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M., she will attempt to win her 17th straight race and separate herself in the record books from Cigar, Citation, Hallowed Dreams, and Mister Frisky with the longest win streak in history.

She currently shares North America's modern consecutive-win mark of 16 races with those horses, a streak she compiled by winning every start in a career dating back to July 2005.

Peppers Pride was set to go for No. 17 in the Lincoln at Ruidoso on July 27, but the card was canceled due to flooding. A month later she was entered in the rescheduled Lincoln, but was scratched by her trainer, Joel Marr, because heavy rain made the track muddy.

The stops and starts leading up to the most significant race of her career, which will come in a $35,000 optional claimer against five other New Mexico-bred fillies and mares, has actually eased some of the pressure for Marr, who trains Peppers Pride for breeder Joe Allen.

"This will be the third time," he said. "It's not as heightened as it was the last two times because we've been through it twice. We've gotten to it, done everything we can training-wise under the circumstances. It's time to run. We just have to hope for the best. I think we're ready to go."

Peppers Pride will start as a strong favorite under Carlos Madeira in the six-furlong race, her first start since the $75,000 Foutz at SunRay on April 26.

"The main concerns are the fact that we haven't run for over five months, and that we have been ready to run twice and weren't able to run," said Marr. "That's got to be a mental issue, being ready to run and getting up to the day of the race and not being able to. That's the major concern."

Peppers Pride has done well to remain healthy and in a position for the record.

"We've never had any major issues," said Marr. "We've had bruised feet, little things here and there. We've been very lucky. The biggest reason is her. She's obviously a very healthy individual that can handle everyday things and keep going."

Peppers Pride is a multiple stakes winner of $861,665, but she has never raced outside of New Mexico. Some critics question her name being placed alongside Cigar and Citation, but her connections have never put her in that class.

"She hasn't faced those kinds of horses, and that's no secret," said Marr. "Citation and Cigar were tremendous racehorses and they faced the highest quality horses in the country and they won 16 races in a row.

"But those are two separate things. The record is how many races you can win in a row. There's no asterisk on the end that says only if you run in a graded stakes. She was bred in New Mexico to run in New Mexico, and she's eligible for many incentives that she's not eligible for if she goes outside of the state.

"It's not where you run and who you beat. It's how many you win in a row."

On Saturday, her connections are hoping it's 17.