Saturday afternoon marks the 50th running of the Pan Zareta Stakes, an annual celebration of one of the most remembered horses to run at the Fair Grounds.
Hall of Famer Pan Zareta, Texas bred and well-traveled with a racing career spanning from Mexico to Canada, died of pneumonia in her stall on Christmas Day (1918) at the Gentilly track. She is buried in the Fair Grounds infield, next to 1924 Kentucky Derby winner Black Gold.
Starting in 1966, the Fairgrounds honored Pan Zareta, known for her sprints, with the honor, which continues Saturday with Race No. 4 at about 2:55 p.m. This year’s six-furlong sprint on dirt includes a field of six fillies and mares ages 4 and up, highlighted by turf record-holder Good Deed, owned and bred by Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein.
The purse is $60,000.
On Dec. 15, Good Deed set a track record with a 51/2 furlongs run in 1:02.31.
B.J. Hernandez Jr. is scheduled to ride Good Deed, who will face challenges from Starship Duchess, Stoupinator, Seeking Ms Shelley, One Time Only and Angie’s Prim Lady. After the race, the winning jockey will place flowers on Pan Zareta’s grave.
During the 2015 season, Hernandez has two seconds places and three third-place finishes in 15 starts.
According to records, Pan Zareta, also known as Panzy, ran 151 races, winning 76, while finishing in the money in more than 80 percent of her races. In 1972, Pan Zareta was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Two jockeys represented by agent Rick Mocklin are recovering from injuries.
Richard Eramia was injured during the gallop-out following the completion of a Nov. 29 race at the Fair Grounds. Atoof was spooked, dumping him. Eramia injured his shoulder.
“Richard goes back to the doctor in Dallas on Jan. 20 and is expecting to be released to ride the last week of January,” Mocklin said. “He is feeling stronger.”
The news is more grim for Andre Ramgeet, who is out with two clavicle breaks, a broken shoulder blade and a fractured skull, suffered Dec. 27.
On Thursday, doctors at Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine will decide if he needs surgery, Mocklin said. He’s out indefinitely.
Eramia had 38 starts this season at the Fair Grounds with three wins ($228,550 earnings). Ramgeet had 10 wins in 101 starts ($228,550 earnings).
Delaunay, a recent winner of the ninth running of the $60,000 Bonapaw Stakes, has six wins in seven main track Fair Grounds starts, as well as 11 stakes wins in 49 starts. In late December, he won the 5½-furlong off-the-turf race by a neck over Heitai, a seven-time stakes winner, on a sealed muddy surface.