JERRI MUNIZ, OF CHICKS BEDUINO FAME, HAS PASSED AT AGE 95
Jerri Muniz, the matriarch behind the great partnership of champion racehorse and sire Chicks Beduino, has passed away. She was 95.
The former Jerri Conner, she was the queen of the 1944 Newport Harbor High junior-senior prom. While At Newport Harbor, Jerri met the late Joe Muniz, a standout athlete on the football team. The two become inseparable from there, a loving relationship that would lead to marriage and eventually three wonderful children.
Jerri and Joe loved horses together, but their love affair with the gentle and beautiful equine athletes came through the encouragement of their daughter Kathie and her husband, John Bobenrieth.
“It was John and I that went to the race track (first),” Kathie said. “The next day John asked my dad if he wanted to own a racehorse.”
Jerri didn’t hesitate to encourage her husband to learn more about racehorses. Jerri would tell Joe to “go out there, meet a trainer and see how you can buy a horse."
“The four of us agreed and John and dad went out to the track and (told) the man at the gate, ‘we are interested in owning a horse. What can we do?’ ” Kathie explained. “He said ‘Well, there is a trainer right there.’ It was Gary Sherlock, our first trainer.”
The four, along with Jerri and Joe’s son, Rory, would campaign top runners, none bigger than the legendary Chicks Beduino, who scored major wins for them in the Bay Meadows Futurity and Governor’s Cup Futurity.
The Muniz also owned Rancho Nuestro Ensueno, which means, “ranch of our dreams.” Jerri and Joe rarely missed a weekend at the racetrack. Joe would sit back and focus on his racing program. Jerri would find many winners as well.
“They had their seats in the Vessels Club for many years,” Kathie added. “Being around Chicks Beduino, the mares and their offspring brought them a lot of joy. My mom formed a group in 1983 called Ladies Racing and campaigned some horses. They had a nice runner named Mighty Policy.”
A Reb’s Policy horse, the hard-knocking Mighty Policy won 15 of 59 starts and earned $49,474.
“The ladies had fun with Mighty Policy,” Kathie said. “Some of them eventually moved out of state. Those were good memories. We have a photo of the Governor’s Cup Futurity when Chicks Beduino won the race. We had 54 people in the winner’s circle.
“Mom passed away 14 months to the date after my dad’s passing,” Kathie added. “They’re back together now.”