04/25/2008 11:00PM

Peppers Pride ties record with 16th straight win


Peppers Pride overcame being soundly bumped in the first turn of the $75,000 Foutz Distaff Handicap at SunRay Park in Farmington, N.M. on Saturday to win her 16th straight race and tie the modern mark for consecutive victories by a North American-based Thoroughbred. She now shares the record with Cigar, Citation, Hallowed Dreams, and Mister Frisky.

Peppers Pride, who is undefeated, began her career in July 2005. She has raced exclusively in New Mexico-bred company, and won her 12th stakes race in the Foutz Distaff. Peppers Pride overcame a host of variables to get the victory, among them spotting her rivals between 6 and 11 pounds as the 127-pound highweight, and vanning 400 miles from Sunland Park for the race. Joel Marr, who trains Peppers Pride for her breeder, Joe Allen, said he felt "relieved" shortly after the mare reached the record on Saturday.

"She deserves to be where she is now, and she'll be there forever," Marr said. "She's a tremendous athlete, and I'm glad we were the ones to help her along the way."

Peppers Pride ($2.80) showed her athleticism during the Foutz. She quickly found herself at a tactical disadvantage in the 6 1/2-furlong race, which was run around two turns on SunRay's six-furlong track. Charlie’s Pizzazz broke on top and moved to a four-length lead, just as Peppers Pride took a body slam in the first turn that sent her to the middle of the racetrack.

Charlie's Pizzazz widened her advantage to five lengths through a half-mile in 44.43 seconds, but Peppers Pride recovered, picked up the chase with vigor in the second turn, and had the lead by the stretch. She won by two lengths and covered the distance on a fast track in 1:17.01. Carlos Madeira, who has ridden Peppers Pride in all of her starts, was aboard once again for the Foutz.

"She got hit really hard in the fist turn," said Marr. "We got shuffled back, and let [Charlie's Pizzazz] out easy on the lead.

"Carlos did an excellent job. He kept his cool, stayed on the rail, saved ground and prevailed."

Marr said the Lincoln Handicap at Ruidoso Downs on July 27 is a next-race option for Peppers Pride, but he wants to see how she comes back out of the Foutz. She will now be based at a training center in Sunland Park, N.M. Peppers Pride earned $45,000 for the win Saturday to push her bankroll to $861,665. She is a 5-year-old mare by Desert God.

Like Peppers Pride, Hallowed Dreams and Mister Frisky won the first 16 races of their careers to reach the record. Cigar and Citation put a 16-race win streak together in the midst of their careers.