Trainer Joel Marr waited until after the sixth race before deciding to scratch Peppers Pride from the $67,500 Lincoln Handicap for New Mexico-bred fillies and mares. Peppers Pride would have been attempting her 17th straight win, a victory that would have eclipsed the current mark held jointly by Triple Crown winner Citation, two-time horse of the year Cigar, Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Mister Frisky and the Louisiana-bred sprinter Hallowed Dreams.
Peppers Pride, assigned 127 pounds for the Lincoln, has never raced on an off-track, although Marr was considering it.
"I had a horse in the sixth race and I discussed it with (jockey) Carlos (Medeira) to find out what he thought," Marr said. "Then it rained during the race and the track was pretty slick. It seemed to be getting progressively worse."
In addition to the sloppy conditions, Peppers Pride would have broken from post 2 in a 10-horse field while spotting her rivals from 10 to 14 pounds apiece. In the end, Marr decided to wait for a better opportunity.
"It's disappointing. I guess Mother Nature knows something we don't," the trainer said. "They've done a great job with the track, but it doesn't matter how good it is, if it's sloppy and slick you increase your chance of injury or something else happening. It just wasn't worth it."
Marr said light rain had been falling on Ruidoso for the past two days.
"Then after about 10 a.m. (today) we had a couple of good showers and it turned muddy," he said.
Marr plans to confer with owner Joe Allen about Peppers Pride's next stop. He said the next likely possibility would occur in early November at Zia Park. That race would be the $170,000-added New Mexico Classic Cup Filly/Mare Championship at one mile.
"We'll just have to see," he said. "Hopefully, she'll forgive me for not letting her run."
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