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El Paso, TX — Western Way closed from ninth to first place and gained her first career stakes win in the $85,000 Peppers Pride Stakes at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Saturday.
Well handled by jockey Enrique Garcia, Western Way took some time to heat up but found her best strides in the second half of the one mile race for New Mexico-bred fillies and mares. Western Way commenced a bold rally on the second turn and was in front of her nine rivals by the upper stretch. The grey mare by The Way Home was in full flight for the wire and the pace setters had no answer for her late kick. Western Way and Garcia went on to win the rich stakes race by 2 and ¼ lengths in a time of 1:38.80.
Western Way is owned by sixteen year-old Juan Carlos Gutierrez who claimed the mare for $10,000 two years ago at SunRay Park in Farmington, New Mexico. Western Way earned $51,000 for her Peppers Pride triumph. She has 5 wins, 8 second and 5 thirds from 25 career outs. Jose A. Gonzalez trains the newly crowned stakes winner. Western Way paid $8.80 to win.
Western Way was coming off a strong third place effort behind Lady of Luck at Sunland Park on Feb. 1 against open competition. She was second to Iplaytricks in the New Mexico Cup Fillies and mares Championship at Zia Park last fall.
Piratz Stash tried a route for the first time and finished a solid second after leading much of the way under jockey Carlos Madeira and trainer Joel Marr. A victory in the Peppers Pride seemed appropriate before the race since she is owned, trained and ridden by the same connections of the legendary New Mexico-bred champion mare Peppers Pride who is also owned by H. Joseph Allen of Abilene, Texas. The 2-1 favorite fought valiantly and finished a half-length in front of Don’t Ask Ghost. That 38-1 long shot sparked a $1 trifecta worth $221.40.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at 12:15 p.m. The $85,000 NMHBA Quarter Horse Stakes is the featured 5th race at 400 yards. Post time switches to 12:55 p.m. starting on Tuesday, Feb. 18 and remains in effect for the remainder of the meet.
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