03/21/2007 11:00PM

Peppers Pride's perfect record on the line


Peppers Pride takes her 8-for-8 record into the $100,000 Sydney Valentini Handicap at Sunland Park on Saturday.

Despite her record, she hasn't exactly scared off the opposition, as seven other New Mexico-bred females are entered to take a shot at her in the one-mile race.

Owned by Joseph Allen and trained by Joel Marr, the 4-year-old Peppers Pride began her career in July 2005 at Ruidoso. Her first seven races were all sprints, but in a Feb.o20 allowance here she tried going a mile and facing elders for the first time. She stalked the pace and kept on going to win by 1 1/2 lengths. She figures to be an overwhelming favorite on Saturday.

Carlos Madeira, the only rider Peppers Pride has ever had, keeps the call. She carries 124 pounds and breaks from the rail.

A familiar foil to Peppers Pride, Theregoesdancer, is back for more, lined up right next door in post 2. Trained by Terry Walker, Theregoesdancer comes off three consecutive seconds to Peppers Pride, all in sprints.

She was second to Peppers Pride in an allowance race at Zia Park Oct. 17, in the New Mexico Cup Juvenile Filly at Zia Nov. 12, and then in the La Coneja Handicap here Dec. 23, her last start. The three losses came by margins of a nose, a length, and a neck. Regular rider Travis Cunningham will ride Theregoesdancer.

If anyone can topple those two, it might be the sharp 5-year-old Skirt Alert. She rattled off three straight impressive victories, capped by an easy allowance win here Jan. 14. While she's done the majority of her racing in sprints, she is 2 for 2 at the mile distance. Duane Sterling rides.