Private Mission wins the Grade 2 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 3, 2021. Benoit Photo.

Private Mission Makes Statement in Zenyatta Stakes

Edited Press Release

Heavily favored Private Mission, who was originally scheduled to run out of town last weekend, stayed home and was a convincing 2 ¼ length winner of the Grade 2, $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 3.

Ridden by Flavien Prat, Private Mission got the 1 1/16-miles in 1:43.77 and thus earned a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 6 as the Zenyatta is a “Win & You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier.

Trainer Bob Baffert, who opted to stay home with the 3-year-old Into Mischief filly instead of running in the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes near Philadelphia on Sept. 26, ran one-two in the Zenyatta as his other charge As Time Goes By completed the exacta.

Blessed with an abundance of early speed, Private Mission sat just off of pacesetter Samurai Charm in the run up the backside. Prat stepped on the gas leaving the three-furlong marker and Private Mission enjoyed a 2 ½ length advantage turning for home in what appeared to be her best race yet in career start number five.

 “I’m happy to run one-two,” said Baffert. “Private Mission, I’m glad I stayed home with her. I decided this would be best for her with the Breeders’ Cup in mind, we didn’t want to stress her. She’s on the improve, getting better and better. I’m really happy with the way both fillies ran.”

A 6 ½ length winner going a mile in the Grade 3 Torrey Pines Stakes on Aug. 21, Private Mission was off at even money in a field of eight fillies and mares three and up and paid $4.20, $2.40 and $2.20.

“She broke well and got herself into the race,” said Prat, who rode her to her Del Mar win on Aug. 21. “She relaxed well and took a nice breather going to the three eighths pole and ran good when I asked her to make her move.  I thought this race was better than last time, for sure.”

Owned by Baoma Corporation, Private Mission, who is out of the Unbridled mare Private Gift, picked up $120,000 for the win, boosting her earnings to $256,800 while getting her fourth win from five outs.

Ridden by John Velazquez, As Time Goes By kept to her task gamely late and in a much-improved effort, finished 2 ¼ lengths in front of Miss Bigly. The second choice at 5-2, she paid $2.80 and $2.20.

Miss Bigly, mid-pack early, was easily third and paid $3.40 to show.

Fractions on the race were :23.21, :46.87, 1:11.45 and 1:36.89.

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