Mission of Joy Kicks Clear to G3 Regret Score

June 3, 2023

Mission of Joy fends off Papilio and wins the Regret under Tyler Gaffalione (JennyPhoto/Past The Wire)

Churchill Downs Press Release

LOUISVILLE, Ky.— Mission of Joy found an opening at the top of the stretch, collared pacesetter Miss Riddler at the three-sixteenths pole and kicked home powerfully to win Saturday’s 54th running of the $205,000 Regret Stakes (Grade III) by 1 ½ lengths over Papilio (IRE) at Churchill Downs.

Owned by Ryan Zabrowski’s RyZan Sun Racing and Sol Kumin’s Madaket Stables, the 3-year-old Graham Motion-trained filly covered 1 1/8 miles on “firm” turf in 1:49.05 under Tyler Gaffalione.

Mission of Joy, winner of the Florida Oaks (GIII) in March, finished a troubled third in the $500,000 Edgewood (GII) on Kentucky Oaks Day when she had to alter course in the late stages of the 1 1/16-mile contest. Saturday’s trip was more ideal.

Mission of Joy raced in a relaxed position along the rail chasing pacesetters Miss Riddler and Girl Named Charlie, who set fractions of :23.63, :48.39 and 1:13.14. Leaving the far turn, Gaffalione waiting patiently for a seam to open between horses and it did at the head of the straightaway. Mission of Joy kicked clear in the final furlong and safely fended off a bid in late stages by Appalachian (GII) winner Papilio (IRE) while under moderate handling.

“We sat a great trip just behind the speed,” Gaffalione said. “In the stretch I was able to tip her out around the pacesetter (Miss Riddler) and she kicked for home impressively.”

Mission of Joy, the odds-on 3-5 favorite, paid $3.46, $2.36 and $2.10. Papilio (IRE), the 2-1 second choice under Javier Castellano, returned $2.84 and $2.36. Mrs. Astor, at odds of 11 under John Velazquez, was another four lengths back in third and paid $3.10.

Miss Riddler, Girl Named Charlie and Sabalenka completed the order of finish.

With her victory worth $122,760, Mission of Joy boosted her career earnings to $289,567 from a record of 4-0-1 in 6 starts.

“She came out of the Edgewood in great shape and she had a tough trip that day,” Motion said. “Today, Tyler got her into a beautiful position and she really impressed me. She’s a Canadian-bred so we’d obviously look at some of those races but also some of the longer turf races in New York this summer. She handled the mile-and-an-eighth today and proved it wouldn’t be an issue moving forward.”

Mission of Joy is a daughter of Kitten’s Joy out of the Smart Strike mare Smart Mission and was bred in Canada by Sam-Son Farm.

The Regret honors the 1915 Kentucky Derby-winning filly.

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