Staying home at Santa Anita Park paid off for Baoma Corporation's Private Mission. The 3-year-old Into Mischief filly, who was scratched out of last weekend's Cotillion Stakes against her age group at Parx Racing, took on older fillies and mares in the $201,500, Grade 2 Zenyatta Stakes Oct. 3 and drew away to a 2 ¼-length victory.
Finishing behind her in second was her Bob Baffert-trained stablemate As Time Goes By, a multiple graded stakes winner at Santa Anita this spring.
"I'm happy to run 1-2," Baffert said. "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."
"I am so psyched for Bob and the entire team," said Baoma Corporation's Susan Chu. "We are grateful for everybody who made this happen today, we are so grateful."
The Zenyatta was the third straight victory for Private Mission, the last two coming under Flavien Prat, who was up for the first time when the bay won the Aug. 21 Grade 3 Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar by 6 ½ lengths against sophomore fillies.
After pressing the pace in second on Sunday, 11-10 favorite Private Mission took command in the turn for home and was never threatened in the stretch. She completed 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.77.
As Time Goes By ran on for second, another 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Miss Bigly in third.
"She broke well and got herself into the race. 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," Prat said. "I thought this race was better than last time, for sure."
By capturing the Zenyatta, a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race, Private Mission earned a berth in the Nov. 6 Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff at Del Mar.
The Breeders' Cup board commenced a review process as to whether Baffert will be permitted to participate in this year's Breeders' Cup World Championships, the organization announced Sept. 18. An update has not been issued since their initial announcement. The Hall of Fame trainer is involved in legal battles connected to Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve winner Medina Spirit, who tested positive for the corticosteroid betamethasone in both initial and split-sample blood tests. As betamethasone is not permitted on any level on race day in Kentucky, the finding could lead to the horse's disqualification and disciplinary action against Baffert by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Private Mission, who has won four of five starts, increased her earnings to $256,800. Donato Lanni, agent for Baoma Corporation, secured the filly for $750,000 in 2019 from the Lane's End consignment to The Saratoga Sale, Fasig-Tipton's select yearling sale in New York.