Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino
Sunday, April 7, 2019
by Eric Alwan
McWend wins $85,000 Peppers Pride Handicap
McWend, fresh off a brilliant win in the $100,000 New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks on March 24, produced a huge run to fend off Hennessy Express by a head and win the $85,000 Peppers Pride Handicap at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Sunday.
Owned by Sunland Park’s leading owners Judge Lanier Racing, McWend returned two weeks after her first career stakes win and beat older New Mexico-bred mares going one mile in the 14th running of the Peppers Pride Handicap.
As per her normal tactics, the three-year-old home-bred filly by McKennas’s Justice launched her winning bid from well off the pace. Racing into the second turn, she and jockey Elvin Gonzalez made a huge run from a 4-wide position to take the lead into the stretch. She looked like a sure thing in upper stretch but still had to hold off a furious late rally from Hennessy Express in the final 100 yards.
McWend posted a nose victory at 9-2 odds and paid $11.00 to win. Miguel Hernandez is the winning trainer. The route loving filly earned $51,000 from her third career win and second straight stakes triumph. She covered the distance in a good 1:37.61. McWend has earned over $123,000 this season at Sunland Park.
Hennessy Express was valiant in defeat. Under jockey Roimes Chirinos, the 8-5 favorite threaded her way through much traffic and found her best strides in deep stretch to just miss in second place. Todd Fincher trained the runner-up.
McGlorious, a 28-1 longshot, finished third beaten one length.
The legendary race mare Peppers Pride won 19 times from 19 career starts and earned over $1 million in her brilliant career. Joel Marr trained the unbeaten mare for owner H. Joseph Allen. Her regular pilot Carlos Madeira was on hand in the winner’s circle Sunday to make the trophy presentation for the 2019 Peppers Pride Handicap.
Live racing resumes on Tuesday at 12:50 p.m.
Photo Credit: Coady Photography