Mercedes Stable's homebred Lady Ten surged to the lead off the far turn and held the fast-closing Customer Base safe late to win Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes at Santa Anita. The three-year-old filly was sent postward as the 2-1 favorite for trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Rafael Bejarano, who figure to be a popular combination again next weekend in the two-day Breeders' Cup.
Winner of the Sandy Blue Handicap two starts previously, Lady Ten garnered her first graded success in the one-mile turf affair Saturday. She broke on top but eased back slightly to allow Viva Carina to set the pace along the inside. Her speedy rival was 1 1/2 lengths ahead after an opening quarter-mile in :23, but Lady Ten advanced to closely track in second down the backstretch and was only a head back following a half-mile in :47 2/5.
Viva Carina continued to cling to a small lead around the far turn, but Lady Ten was ready to pounce as she entered the stretch and took over soon after straightening for home. She drove clear less than a sixteenth of a mile remaining, but Customer Base came flying from the back of the pack to make it close in the end, finishing a neck back of the winner.
Lady Ten stopped the teletimer in 1:34 4/5 on the firm turf and returned payouts of $6.80, $4.20 and $2.80 to her backers.
Customer Base, the near 10-1 sixth choice among 10 rivals, wound up 1 1/4 lengths better than third-placer Charm the Maker. Viva Carina, Open Water, Perfecta, Vionnet, Best Present Ever, Jolly Days and Double Ante came next under the wire. Curvy Cat was scratched.
The bay filly placed in her first five starts before breaking through with a maiden special weight score on May 12, and Lady Ten came right back to capture an allowance race next out. She finished third in her stakes bow, the July 8 Le Cle at Hollywood Park, and then captured the aforementioned Sandy Blue at Del Mar on August 17. The daughter of Rock Hard Ten entered the Autumn Miss off a second in the October 6 Swingtime Stakes at Santa Anita.
With Saturday's $60,000 payday, Lady Ten has now earned $246,244 from a 11-4-5-2 mark.
The Kentucky-bred hails from the winning French Deputy mare Mismonique, a half-sister to stakes winner Boca Flyer. This is the female family of 1994 Delaware Handicap winner With a Wink and multiple Grade 3 hero Raja's Shark.