July 27 will be a big day for Joe Allen. The Texas resident will celebrate his 62nd birthday, and his homebred mare, Peppers Pride, will try to set a modern North American Thoroughbred racing record by posting her 17th consecutive victory.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Allen, who will be joined by nearly 200 family members and friends at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico for Peppers Pride’s history-making attempt.
A 5-year-old New Mexico-bred daughter of Desert God, Peppers Pride is the 127-pound topweight in the $55,000 Lincoln Handicap. She will carry at least 11 pounds more than any of her rivals in the restricted six-furlong race. Last year, Peppers Pride won the Lincoln by 1 ¾ lengths.
“I’ll be disappointed if she doesn’t win,” Allen said, “but man alive, she’s already done so much more than we ever expected her to do. If we could, we would pick something to race her in that wasn’t a handicap stakes, but there are only so many races in New Mexico that she’s eligible for.”
Trained by Joel Marr and ridden by Carlos Madeira, Peppers Pride has never been defeated in her career, which began at Ruidoso in July of 2005 with a 4 ½-length triumph at 5 ½ furlongs. Produced from the winning Chili Pepper Pie mare Lady Pepper, who finished second in the 1990 Bluebonnet Stakes, Peppers Pride has earned $861,665.
“She’s smart, and you can rate her; you can really do anything with her,” Allen said. “She just seems like she wants to win. She’s a wonderful mare.”
Allen plans to retire Peppers Pride at the end of the year. She has captured 12 added-money events, all of which were restricted.
“We would love to retire her undefeated, but more than anything else, we want to retire her sound; she’s been so good to us,” Allen said. “We’ve had a little criticism for not running her in cpen company and not running her in this or that and all this other stuff. But Joel said it best, ‘If it’s so easy, I’m surprised there haven’t been 100 of them like her.’ ”
The Lincoln will be Peppers Pride's first race since since April 26, when she tied the record of 16 straight victories shared by Citation, Cigar, Hallowed Dreams, and Mister Frisky. On that day Peppers Pride scored by two lengths in the Russell and Hellen Foutz Distaff Handicap at Sun Ray Park.