10/04/2008 12:00AM

Peppers Pride sets record with 17th straight


Peppers Pride now stands alone in the record books.

She set a modern North American mark for consecutive wins Saturday at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M., when she won her 17th straight race in a $35,000 optional claimer. Peppers Pride had previously shared the modern Thoroughbred record for consecutive wins with Cigar, Citation, Hallowed Dreams, and Mister Frisky.

The six-furlong race Saturday was the first in five months for the undefeated Peppers Pride, who had been set to make her record bid on two occasions this summer but had her plans dashed by extreme weather. The first time, floods canceled the Ruidoso Downs card in July when she was to run in the Lincoln Handicap. The second time her trainer, Joel Marr, scratched her after heavy rains made the track muddy for a rescheduled Lincoln in August. He was thrilled with how it all worked out on Saturday.

"She showed that she's a professional," Marr said. "She's just a tremendous athlete, coming off adversity this summer and the long layoff. She performed as she always does. If I was that consistent there's no telling what I would be."

Peppers Pride ($2.40) broke sharply and settled into a stalking position behind the leaders, who dueled through an opening quarter in 22.43 seconds and a half-mile in 45.41. Peppers Pride took over into the stretch, and then comfortably held off a late bid by Silver Expression to win by a length and three quarters. She covered the distance on a fast track in 1:10.23.

Jockey Carlos Madeira, who has ridden Peppers Pride throughout her career, was aboard on Saturday for her breeder, Joe Allen. Peppers Pride is a 5-year-old New Mexico-bred mare by Desert God.