Apparently, age is just a number for Good Deed.
The six-year-old mare dominated $60,000 Pan Zareta Stakes at the Fair Grounds Race Course on Saturday, starting strong and finishing stronger during a 51/2 furlong turf race. She bested the field of five, moving inside early, setting the pace and finishing nearly two lengths ahead of Seeking Ms Shelley, her nearest competitor and the race’s defending champion.
Good Deed’s win marked just the 16th start of racing career — her ninth win — low racing numbers for a speedy horse of her age.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the best of her yet, for an older mare like she is,” jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. said. “She seems to be getting better with age.”
After all, Good Deed, owned by Richard and Bertram Klein, is the Fair Grounds’ turf record holder at 51/2 furlong (1:02.31), a mark she set in mid-December.
Good Deed has likely shown enough promise, trainer Steve Margolis said, to earn a shot at Gulfstream Park Park in Florida in about six weeks, then spring racing in Kentucky. Margolis believes her ability to peak when so many of her peers’ talents are descending has to do with the way she’s been handled by the Klein family.
When Good Deed has needed a break, she’s received it, which explains the low number of starts. She hasn’t suffered any major injuries, just minor issues, including feeding issues.
“But she’s always showed a lot of talent, and she’s really gotten even better as she’s gotten older,” Margolis said. “Hopefully, we can keep her healthy and have a good year with her.”
One year earlier, Good Deed finished behind Seeking Ms Shelley, a nine-year old mare owned by Robby Albarado and trained by Joe Duhon. The three-time stakes winner entered Saturday without wins in her last five starts, but hopeful because of a a fourth-place finish her last time out.
Stoupinator finished third dropping back late on the backstretch, followed by One Time Only and Angie’s Prim Lady, both of whom tired down the stretch.
“The biggest thing we were worrying about was the break,” Hernandez said of Good Deed. “Once we broke cleanly, we let her cruise around there and she showed her class and how good she is.”
Longtime paddock judge Ramon Muniz passed away suddenly, according to Fair Grounds officials and friends of the family. Muniz, the son of a jockey agent and a lifelong fan of horseracing, served in his position and others for more than four decades.
Muniz’s brother, Mervin R. Muniz, Jr., was a longtime racing secretary at Fair Grounds Race Course who died in 2003. In 2004, the Explosive Bid Handicap was renamed in his honor.