02/22/2013 6:24PM

Sunland Park: Countess Curlin already tested at Island Fashion distance


No horse in the $50,000 Island Fashion at Sunland Park on Sunday can boast a better record at the race’s one-mile distance than Countess Curlin. She is 2 for 2 at the trip and should start as the favorite with Southern California-based entrant Branding expected to remain home for an allowance at Santa Anita.

The Island Fashion serves as the local prep for the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks on March  24. The field of eight 3-year-old fillies includes Fraudulentfootnote, runner-up in the $50,000 El Paso Times at Sunland, and Lady of Luck, who last raced at Churchill.

Countess Curlin invades from Sam Houston for Stonestreet Stables and trainer Steve Asmussen. She has been unbeaten since moving to two turns for her second career start Dec. 7. Countess Curlin won a maiden special weight at a mile that night at Retama Park, cruising wire to wire for a 4 1/2-length win. She then won a first-level allowance at Sam Houston on Jan. 18.

Countess Curlin rallied from off the pace in her start last month and again won by 4 1/2 lengths. She will break from post 5 on Sunday, under Luis Contreras. Countess Curlin could get a stalking trip as a number of her rivals will be stretching out to two turns.

Fraudulentfootnote is making her first start beyond 6 1/2 furlongs. She rallied from off the pace in the El Paso Times and finished six lengths behind promising winner Melody Lady. Melody Lady, a Fair Grounds-based runner and the first stakes winner for Grade  1-winning racemare Lady Tak, is now shopping for a two-turn spot, according to her trainer, Asmussen. Ike Green trains Fraudulentfootnote, a daughter of More than Ready who races for May Valley Farms.

Peppers Pride due to foal soon

Peppers Pride, the New Mexico-bred millionaire who retired with a 19-for-19 record, is due to have a foal by Malibu Moon in the very near future, said one of her co-owners, Joel Marr. Marr also trained Peppers Pride, who is now based at a farm in Kentucky. The foal will be the third for Peppers Pride, behind a filly and a colt who are both by Distorted Humor.

◗ Red Lead, who won the $50,000 Curribot at Sunland in his last start Feb. 10, is being pointed to the $75,000 Sunland Park Handicap on April 14, trainer Chris Hartman said. Red Lead won the Sunland Park Handicap in 2010. He races for Joe Davis.