11/04/2008 12:00AM

Peppers Pride to test streak


Peppers Pride came into the Zia Park meet with two objectives. The first was to set a modern North American record for consecutive wins. She checked that off her list last month, when she won her 17th straight race in a $35,000 optional claiming allowance Oct. 4.

The second was to defend her title in the New Mexico Cup Filly and Mare Championship, which will be run Sunday at the Hobbs, N.M., track. The one-mile race is for statebreds and it will be part of the $2 million New Mexico Cup card of stakes at Zia. The Filly and Mare Championship has long been a target for the undefeated Peppers Pride.

"There's only a few select races throughout the year for her, and this is definitely the biggest one," said Joel Marr, who trains Peppers Pride. "The purse will be close to $180,000. That's quite a bit of money to run at."

Peppers Pride has raced exclusively against New Mexico-breds, and the Filly and Mare Championship is the state's richest race for her division. She will break from post 7 in a field of eight Sunday and will be ridden by Carlos Madeira.

"It's a decent post, and I like the distance," said Marr, who trains Peppers Pride for her breeder, Joe Allen.

The New Mexico Cup card comprises 11 statebred stakes for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses. The Filly and Mare Championship goes as the 10th, with a post of 4:09 p.m. Mountain.

Retama: Winners consider Delta stakes

Valid Message and My Spanx, who won Retama Park's richest open-company stakes last Saturday night, are both under consideration for the richest races of the meet at Delta Downs.

Valid Message, who closed from last to win the $100,000 El Joven at a mile on turf, could move to dirt for the Grade 3, $750,000 Delta Jackpot at 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 5, trainer Ellen Williams said.

"We are seriously discussing and thinking about the Delta Jackpot," she said, "the thought being, I guess we need to find out sooner or later, can he switch surfaces? How versatile is he? If he can show us he can run on the dirt, it just adds another whole dimension to his 3-year-old year."

Williams also feels Valid Message might like Delta, a six-furlong oval in Vinton, La. She races there and said the track's configuration and surface composition are similar to Valid Message's training center base in east Texas.

"Our track is a small, five-eighths track, so he's used to training on a small oval," she said. "And we have a very sandy surface. So, the tighter turns, the smaller track, would not be a big shock to him."

Valid Message picked up his second two-turn stakes win in the El Joven. Back in August, he won the $75,000 Sunny's Halo at a mile on turf at Louisiana Downs.

My Spanx earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 78 for her win in the $100,000 La Senorita at Retama. Allen Milligan, who trains the filly, said she has a couple of options for her next start, among them the $500,000 Delta Princess for 2-year-old fillies at a mile on Dec. 5.

"We've been talking about trying dirt with her, so we might take her to Delta Downs," he said.

Milligan said another option is to keep My Spanx on turf for the Grade 3, $100,000 Miesque Stakes at a mile at Hollywood Park on Nov. 28.

The preps for the Delta Jackpot and Delta Princess will be run Friday night at Delta. The $150,000 Jean Lafitte drew a full field of 10 colts, including stakes winners King Gulch and Kick On. Seacrettina is one of nine fillies set to run in the $100,000 My Trusty Cat.

Delta: Southern Invasion eyes Classic

Southern Invasion punched his ticket to the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at 1 1/8 miles at Fair Grounds on Dec. 13 by winning his comeback race last Friday night at Delta in the $60,000 Cocodrie. Southern Invasion will be one of two starters on the Louisiana Champions Day program for owner Bobby Asaro's four-horse stable. The other is Diggy Fresh in the $100,000 Turf.

"This is my Breeders' Cup," Asaro said. "We are excited."

Southern Invasion was making his first start since January in the Cocodrie, and he won the seven-furlong race, run at two turns, by a length. He earned an 85 Beyer. Keith Bourgeois trains Southern Invasion, who was ridden by Gerard Melancon.

Remington: Vacation for Gold Coyote

Gold Coyote, who has won stakes in his last four starts, is being freshened and will return to action next spring, trainer Bret Calhoun said.

Gold Coyote, who had been based at Remington Park, last raced Oct. 4 and won the $50,000 Watson MacManus at Retama. Before that, the horse won the $50,000 Harvest at Albuquerque, and the $50,000 Goodman Memorial and $50,000 Carter McGregor Memorial, both at Lone Star.