Cajun Pepper Turns On Heat in Allison Futurity

Undefeated juvenile Cajun Pepper won his fifth in a row, overpowering the field by 4 1/4 lengths in the $161,331 Riley Allison Futurity Sunday at Sunland Park.

Cajun Pepper, a Colorado-bred son of Barricade proved much the best as the 3-5 favorite with Alex Jimenez aboard. Let go while three wide on the turn, Cajun Pepper turned on the heat while drawing off in the lane to complete the 6 1/2-furlong event in 1:15 on fast going.

Cajun Pepper prompted a strong early pace from Railroad, who clicked off early fractions of :21 3/5 and :43 3/5, before the dark bay gelding took control.

Voronin was second, 4 1/2 lengths ahead of the show horse, 82-1 Leverage, in the field of 10.

The victory earned trainer Ramon Gonzalez's charge a berth in the $500,000 WinStar Derby on April 2.

Cajun Pepper has now won his five starts by a combined 26 3/4 lengths, two of the wins coming in races restricted to Colorado breds. In his first stakes start against open company, he earned $80,666 for owners Eli Diamant and Harry Veruchi, who bred him.

The winner paid $3.20, $2.60 and $3. Voronin returned $5 and $5.80 while Leverage paid $21.40. Railroad finished fourth and Expect Will, the 5-2 second choice, was fifth.

(Chart, Equibase)