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Zasha Upsets Peppers Pride Handicap
RSS Feeds Sunday, February 28, 2016
Sent to post at odds of 12-1, Zasha earned her first stakes win in more than a year in the $85,000 Peppers Pride Handicap (R) at Sunland Park on Sunday.

Zasha covered her 1-mile trip in 1:37.64 under jockey Jesiere Medina, and her winning margin was a head from 9-5 favorite and stablemate and full sister Desert Stepper. Joel Marr prepped the 5-year-old bay Desert God mare for owner C. Donnell Echols of Lamesa, Texas.

Zasha was bred by Joe Allen of Abilene, Texas, who also bred and raced this stakes namesake, Peppers Pride. The mare is one of 25 stakes winners from 180 starters sired by the late Desert God, an unraced son of the Mr. Prospector stallion Fappiano.

A half brother to graded stakes winners Better Than Honour, Smolensk, and Turnberry Isle (IRE), Desert God has sired the earners of more than $14.8 million -- including multiple stakes winners Peppers Pride, Our Choice, Fullofenergy, and Train Rider Blues -- and he was the leading New Mexico-based Thoroughbred sire from 2010-14. The stallion was pensioned due to advancing age and fertility issues in 2013, and he died last December at Allen’s farm near Abilene.

Zasha is also one of two winners from as many starters produced by Thanks For Smokin, a winning Kentucky-bred daughter of the Two Punch stallion Smoke Glacken. The mare’s second dam, the winning and stakes-placed Fred Astaire mare Crystal Stepper, foaled seven winners from as many starters, including Dash For Daylight, a Grade 2-placed half brother to Thanks For Smokin who won four stakes in Kentucky and West Virginia from 2001-02.

Zasha traces back to her third dam, Crystal Stone, a stakes-winning mare by the Pappageno II (FR) stallion Pappa Fourway (ENG). Crystal Stone was a half sister to Sans Arc, the winner of the 1979 Orchid Handicap (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

Zasha was making her first start since December 20, when she finished seventh, 7 3/4 lengths behind winner My Bikini Fell Off, in the 6-furlong, $85,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap (R) at Sunland Park. Raced exclusively in New Mexico, the mare has won five of 13 races, and the $51,000 winner’s share of the Peppers Pride Handicap purse pushed her bankroll to $250,472.

Zasha won two stakes during her sophomore campaign, the 1 1/16-mile, $100,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks (R) at Sunland, and the 1-mile, $179,360 Peppers Pride New Mexico Cup Fillies & Mares Championship (R) at Zia Park.

Zasha returned a $26.60 win mutuel and teamed with Desert Stepper for a $118.80 ($2) exacta payoff. My Dandy Girl, the 3-1 third choice in the field of nine, finished third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Zasha, to complete a $1 trifecta return of $175.40.

Little Vidalia, Stormin Creek, Bird Lady, My Classy Lady, My Bikini Fell Off, and B Bold Cindy completed the order of finish.

Desert Stepper is a 4-year-old daughter of Desert God and Thanks For Smokin owned by L Squared Racing LLC and Joe Allen. The filly has won three of 11 outs, and the $18,700 runner-up share of the Peppers Pride Handicap purse boosted her bankroll to $97,780.

A 5-year-old daughter of the Yankee Victor stallion Real Dandy campaigned by Duane Freeman, My Dandy Girl was coming off of a 4-year-old season in which she scored a two-length from Stormin Creek in the November 1, 1-mile Peppers Pride New Mexico Cup Filly & Mare Championship. The mare has won eight of 28 races and has earned $210,724, of which $163,467 was banked last year.

In The News

Sunday, October 29, 2017
Jockeys Ry Eikleberry and Roimes Chirinos each rode the winners of two races during Sunday’s $2-million New Mexico Cup Day program at Zia Park.
Thursday, October 26, 2017
A total of 131 New Mexico-bred Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses has been entered in Sunday’s New Mexico Cup races at Zia Park. Purses for the 12 races -- eight for Thoroughbreds and four for Quarter Horses -- will exceed $2 million, once again making New Mexico Cup day the richest state- or province-bred day of racing in North America.
Monday, October 23, 2017
The New Mexico Racing Commission held its monthly meeting at its headquarters in Albuquerque on Thursday, October 12.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Horsemen are reminded that nominations close on November 1 for five 2018 stakes at The Downs at Albuquerque.

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