10/06/2008 12:00AM

Peppers Pride targets two more stakes


Over the next few months, Peppers Pride will attempt to pad the modern-day U.S. record for consecutive victories that she set Saturday at Zia Park when she won her 17th straight race. Her connections have penciled in two upcoming stakes for her, and following those starts she could be retired, they said.

"We've discussed it," said Joel Marr, who trains Peppers Pride for owner-breeder Joe Allen. "We haven't made a firm decision either way, but that's what we're leaning toward, breeding her."

Marr said Monday that Peppers Pride, a 5-year-old who is undefeated, emerged from her record-setting race in good order. He said next for her is the $170,000 New Mexico Cup Filly and Mare Championship on Nov. 9 at her Zia Park base in Hobbs, N.M. Following that race is the $125,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap at Sunland Park on Dec. 14. Both races are restricted to fillies and mares bred in New Mexico.

Marr said that if Peppers Pride were to continue to race into 2009, he and Allen would not rule out a start outside of New Mexico. She has raced exclusively in her home state since her debut win in a trial race at Ruidoso Downs in July 2005.

"Who knows what might happen in the future," Marr said. "We're not ruling it out. We're just trying to do what's best for her."

Peppers Pride set the record in a $35,000 optional claiming race at six furlongs. She came into the sprint off 16 straight wins and tied with Cigar, Citation, Hallowed Dreams, and Mister Frisky for the longest-running Thoroughbred win streak in modern U.S. history. Peppers Pride separated herself in the record books Saturday with her 1 3/4-length win.

Peppers Pride, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 82, was set to go for the record twice this summer at Ruidoso Downs, but her plans were disrupted by heavy rains. The optional claimer ended up being her first start in five months, as she had equaled the record in April at SunRay Park in Farmington, N.M.

Her consistency on the track has been mirrored off the track, too. Marr has trained Peppers Pride throughout her career, while the only jockey she has ever known has been Carlos Madeira.

"He's been with her just as long as I have," Marr said. "He gallops her in the morning a lot. He's worked her almost every time she's worked since she was a 2-year-old. He's been on her back 90 percent of the time that she's had somebody on her back. They know each other and they get along well."

Armando Gonzalez has been Peppers Pride's groom from the first day she arrived in the barn.

Peppers Pride is a 12-time stakes winner and she has earned $884,585.