11/12/2007 1:00AM

Peppers Pride still perfect after 13 races

EmailPeppers Pride remained undefeated in 13 career starts on Sunday, when she split horses en route to a two-length victory in the $182,460 Fillies and Mares Championship at Zia Park. The six-furlong race was one of 11 stakes for statebreds during the $2 million New Mexico Cup.

Peppers Pride was the star attraction. Sent off at 1-5, she broke alertly but was content to let the speed go and settled in fifth under regular rider Carlos Madeira. Midway on the turn, Peppers Pride accelerated on a dime. She proceeded to split horses into the stretch, and went on to win with her ears pricked, covering the distance over a fast track in 1:10.60.

"We got the trip we wanted," said Joel Marr, who trains Peppers Pride for her breeder, Joe Allen. "It all worked good."

Peppers Pride ($2.60) is now three wins away from equaling the modern mark for consecutive victories, 16, which is shared by Cigar, Citation, Hallowed Dreams, and Mister Frisky. She has raced exclusively in slots-rich New Mexico since she won her debut in a trial race in July 2005. There are no immediate plans to take her out of state.

"We run for a lot of money now," Marr said. "She is a New Mexico-bred and she's also eligible for owner awards and breeder awards. I haven't seen any sense to go anywhere. There's plenty of money here.

"We've got a couple of races coming up at Sunland Park. Each one of them will be around $130,000, so it wouldn't make much sense to go somewhere right now."

Marr said Peppers Pride is being pointed next for the New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap, a six-furlong race for statebred fillies and mares at Sunland on Dec. 16.

Peppers Pride, a 4-year-old by Desert God, has earned $681,665.

Highland's Best catches Rocky Gulch

Highland's Best ($7.80) rallied under Joe Talamo to overtake Rocky Gulch and win the $183,175 Sprint Championship by 1 1/4 lengths. Rocky Gulch, the all-time richest New Mexico-bred Thoroughbred, held second.

In the remaining five stakes for Thoroughbreds, Some Ghost ($13.20) rallied to win the $190,245 Classic; ZoZ Dome ($6.80) surged between rivals to take the $153,890 Colts and Geldings; Good Looker R F ($10.80) dug in to win the $151,460 Fillies; Run Like Fire ($3.40) captured the $153,891 Juvenile; and Etoile de Dome ($24.80) scored in the $153,890 Juvenile Fillies.

Tunes ($33.80) won the richest of four stakes for Quarter Horses in the $338,999 Classic Futurity. Other stakes went to Casino Dash ($6.40) in the Derby, Luck N Ofive ($20.20) in the Championship, and Mr. Frenchman ($3.60) in the 870-yard Championship.

Handle on the card from all sources was $601,152.