11/06/2009 12:00AM

Statebred spotlight falls on new group


Peppers Pride and Rocky Gulch have been the headline acts on the New Mexico Cup card at Zia Park over the past several years. But with both horses now retired, it's time for new talent to step up. Fullofenergy, Lefty Who, and Glory Be Mine will all attempt to do just that Sunday in this year's $1.9 million New Mexico Cup.

Each brings a win streak into the program, which is the richest card of the meet. There are 11 divisional stakes, with seven for Thoroughbreds worth a total of more than $1 million, and four for Quarter Horses worth $850,000. All of the races are restricted to horses bred in New Mexico.

"It's one of the biggest, if not the biggest, day for New Mexico breeders, owners, and trainers, for everybody involved in racing in the state," said Joel Marr, who trained the undefeated Peppers Pride.

Marr has eight starters on the card, including One Bad Ghost in the newly named $170,000 Peppers Pride Championship. He also will send out Lefty Who, a winner of his last three starts, in the $140,000 Colts and Geldings for 3-year-olds, and Fullofenergy, a top contender in the $180,000 Rocky Gulch Championship.

Fullofenergy will be looking for his third straight win when he runs in the one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up. Fullofenergy has developed into one of his division's chief players, finishing second in this race last season, then proving much the best in an allowance and the $50,000 Land of Enchantment, both at Ruidoso, in his two starts this year.

"He's an extremely nice horse as far as New Mexico-breds go, and he'd definitely be competitive at some level against open horses, too," Marr said. "He's been extremely good to me and the owners. He's very honest and runs a good race pretty much every time, and I expect that from him again Sunday. He's doing well."

Fullofenergy will break from post 7, under Carlos Madeira.

Enchanted Outlaw has won back-to-back races at Zia, and he will break from gate 4.

"He's probably going to be right on the lead," said his trainer, Todd Fincher. "He drew a good post for it."

Two-turn test in Peppers Pride

In the richest race for fillies and mares, the Peppers Pride, One Bad Ghost will be making her first start at a mile following a stakes placing at 6 1/2 furlongs at Albuquerque.

"First time going a mile, it's a tough spot to do it," Marr said. "She's never run two turns, and there was no chance to prep. She hasn't got to run since August. But she's working well and training well. She's a very tough filly. She'll try hard."

Ken Tohill has the mount.

Lefty Who vs. Lesters Secret

Lesters Secret is a trooper. He has finished second to Lefty Who in each of his last three starts, the $75,000 Dine at SunRay Park in June, the $50,000 Road Runner at Ruidoso in July, and an allowance at Zia on Oct. 10.

"He just has never been able to beat Lefty Who," said Henry Dominguez, who trains Lesters Secret. "He's always been real close to him. Maybe we'll turn the tables on him this time. [Lesters Secret] is on the outside, and he prefers to be on the outside. The horse is doing well. He's sharp."

So is Lefty Who, a winner of 8 of 10 starts who is 3 for 3 at Zia. Marr, who trains Lefty Who, looks forward to facing Lesters Secret again.

"He's a very nice horse," he said. "They have had some good races, and I think this will be another one."

Glory Be Mine back with statebreds

Glory Be Mine will be looking to extend her win streak to four in the $140,000 Juvenile Fillies, which comes one start after she defeated open company in the $60,000 Permian Basin at Zia. That race was over the same six-furlong distance of the Juvenile Fillies, and it was Glory Be Mine's first start since July. She turned in a career performance, and her trainer, Fincher, is anxious for Sunday.

"You always have the bounce factor," he said. "She ran such a big race off the long layoff, and reeling back off of three weeks. But she came out of the race really good."

Glory Be Mine's also won the Rio Grande Senorita Futurity at Ruidoso during her streak.

* Huntin the Trash, a winner of his last three, heads the $140,000 Juvenile.

* Multiple Grade 1 winner First Moonflash goes in the $170,000 Quarter Horse Championship.