Race is a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win & You’re In’ qualifier to Grade I BC Distaff Nov. 6
ARCADIA, Calif. – Bob Baffert’s budding star Private Mission, originally scheduled to run in the Grade I Cotillion Stakes near Philadelphia Sept. 25, will take on older competition for the first time on Sunday as she bids for her third consecutive win in the Grade II, $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita. Named in honor of racing’s 2010 Eclipse Horse of the Year, the Zenyatta, which has attracted a field of eight fillies and mares three and up, will be contested at a mile and one sixteenth. A Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, the Zenyatta winner will earn a fees-paid berth into the Grade I, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
In what was her second start of the year and first time around two turns, Private Mission, a 3-year-old filly by Into Mischief, was a resounding 6 ½ length winner going a flat mile in the Grade III Torrey Pines Stakes Aug. 21 at Del Mar, a race in which she galloped out a football field in front of her competition mid-way around the clubhouse turn. Private Mission, who is owned by Baoma Corporation, retains the services of Flavien Prat, will no doubt be forwardly placed as she seeks her fourth win from five career starts.
Although beaten a combined 27 lengths in a pair of Grade I stakes, the Clement Hirsch at Del Mar on Aug. 1 and the Personal Ensign at Saratoga Aug. 28, Baffert’s As Time Goes By will hope to regain the form she held when winning both the Grade II Santa Maria here on May 22 and the Grade II Santa Margarita (by 9 ¼ lengths) on April 24. Second to Eclipse Champ Swiss Skydiver five starts back in the Grade I Beholder Mile on March 13, As Time Goes By has three wins from five tries over the Santa Anita main track. Owned by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier, As Time Goes By, a 4-year-old filly by American Pharoah, is 9-4-2-1 with earnings of $415,600.
Don Alberto Stable’s homebred Stellar Sound will stretch out off a third-place finish in the Rancho Bernardo while Peter Miller’s streaking Samurai Charm, an impressive gate to wire allowance winner going one mile in her last two starts, tries stakes company for the first time and seeks her fifth consecutive win. Phil D’Amato’s Miss Bigly, fresh off victory in the restricted one-mile Tranquility Lake Stakes Aug. 27, seeks her first graded stakes win in what will be her 23rd career start.
The Grade II Zenyatta Stakes with jockeys & weights in post position order
Race 9 of 10, Approximate post time 5 p.m. PT
1. Samurai Charm—Kyle Frey—122
2. As Time Goes By—John Velazquez—124
3. Private Mission—Flavien Prat—120
4. Miss Bigly—Juan Hernandez—122
5. California Kook—Abel Cedillo—122
6. Miss Stormy D—Geovanni Franco—122
7. Lady Kate—Joe Bravo—122
8. Stellar Sound—Drayden Van Dyke–122
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Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Office
Photo: Private Mission winning the one-mile Torrey Pine Stakes at Del Mar on August 21, 2021 handily by 6 1/4 lengths with Flavien Prat up. (Benoit)