12/16/2011 4:14PM

Fair Grounds: Good Deed stands out in Letellier off last two efforts


Trainer Steve Margolis has put together strong Fair Grounds meets the last two seasons, winning 24 races two years ago to finish sixth in the trainer standings before taking down first money 32 times last year, the third-highest training total at the meet. With 1 win from 7 starters through Thursday, Margolis had yet to hit his full New Orleans stride – understandable, since he was a regular participant at Churchill Downs through the end of the meet there in late November – but that might be coming.

Margolis has likely favorites in two of four appealing races on Sunday’s nine-race Fair Grounds card, the 2-year-old filly Good Deed in the $60,000 Letellier Memorial and promising 3-year-old filly Puddy Tap in an entry-level route allowance race earlier on the program.

Good Deed was one of only six fillies entered in the Letellier, once a regular stakes race at Fair Grounds but now an overnight race. Good Deed has comfortably won her last two starts, taking a Hoosier maiden race by six lengths and a Churchill allowance by almost two, and she had been expected to run that way while making her career debut at Saratoga, where she finished a distant sixth as the favorite on Aug. 4.

“She was training the part up to the race,” Margolis said. “She was smooth and did everything right in the paddock, but then she got right behind the starting gate and acted up a little bit. They grabbed her, they tailed her, she ended up breaking bad, and everything kind of fell apart.”

With two wins and one excuse, Good Deed is very much the horse to beat in the six-furlong Letellier. As a half-sister to sprinters Country Day and Due Date, the distance should be ideal for Good Deed.

“She’s kind of like them but she’s got some gas,” said Margolis. “Even being by Broken Vow we think maybe six, seven furlongs is what she wants.”

Our Eleanor, making her first start since being privately purchase by Peter Redekop and turned over to trainer Mike Stidham, might run well at a better price than Good Deed. Off the board in her Polytrack debut, she won a $50,000 maiden-claimer at Churchill by 1 1/4 lengths when switched to dirt.

“Numbers-wise she’s got to move forward, but she’s been training very, very well since we got her,” Stidham said.

Color Code also should be considered since her trainer, Steve Asmussen, caught fire this week at Fair Grounds. His horses from Remington Park – like Color Code – have been performing well in New Orleans.

While Margolis is bearish on Good Deed as a route horse, he likes the chances of Puddy Tap stretching out for the first time in race 4. A good-looking maiden winner at odds of 2-5 last out at Churchill, Puddy Tap is “a nice, big strapping filly who acts like she’ll run two turns, no problem,” Margolis said.

Also on the card is a first-level, turf-route allowance for 2-year-olds, race 7, and a no-conditions dirt-sprint allowance race for fillies and mares, race 8. The latter race is highlighted by a showdown between regular rivals Starlite Starbrite and Beat the Blues.