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Cody’s Wish Looks to Regain Winning Form in Vosburgh

Godolphin’s Cody’s Wish  is returning to what he does best, which is bad news for connections targeting the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).

When last seen, the homebred son of Curlin  was trying to stretch his speed over a two-turn, 1 1/8-mile distance in the Aug. 5 Whitney Stakes (G1), ultimately finishing third by 10 lengths and snapping a six-race winning streak as his Horse of the Year hopes dimmed.

Nearly two months later, the Bill Mott-trained 5-year-old returns in a more familiar spot, facing five rivals in the $250,000 Vosburgh Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack, a Sept. 30 seven-furlong tune up for his Nov. 4 bid for back-to-back wins in the Dirt Mile at Santa Anita Park.

“He’s doing very well. His breezes have been good and we expect to be back on top in the Vosburgh,” said Michael Banahan, bloodstock manager for Godolphin USA. “We tried to get some extra distance out of him in the Whitney and we saw what happened. We’re going to go back to what we know he does best and the best place to start is the Vosburgh.”

Named for teenager Cody Dorman, who is suffering from Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, Cody’s Wish followed up his score in the 2022 Dirt Mile by winning the May 6 Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) and then the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) by a combined margin of eight lengths. He was sent off as a 2-5 favorite in the Whitney at Saratoga Race Course but never fired while finishing third in one of the sport’s premier distance races for dirt males.

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“I don’t think he ever traveled that well in the Whitney. (Jockey Junior Alvarado) didn’t feel he had a whole lot of horse on the far side. It just might have been an off day, which happens, especially at Saratoga. We participated in the Travers (G1) on a day when a Triple Crown winner (American Pharoah  ) got beat at Saratoga, so we know that can happen up there,” Banahan said.

While the experiment in the Whitney did not work out as hoped, the two-turn distance of the Dirt Mile should not pose a major issue for Cody’s Wish as he posted an emotionally charged victory by a head over Cyberknife   when the 2022 edition was contested at a two-turn distance at Keeneland.

“He handled the two turns at Keeneland so he ticked that box a little bit,” Banahan said about the son of the Tapit   mare Dance Card who has won 9 of 14 starts and earned $2.4 million. “We’ll lick our wounds and hopefully have a good race in the Vosburgh and go forward with him. Everyone is happy with him at the moment.”

The field also includes a trio of graded stakes-placed rivals in Accretive , winner of allowances races in his two 2023 starts, the Mott-trained High Oak , who was third in the Forego Stakes (G1), and the New Jersey-bred Charles Hesse III Handicap winner Great Navigator .

The winner of the Vosburgh will get a free “Win and You’re In” spot in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). Cody’s Wish secured a “Win and You’re In” berth in the Dirt Mile through his victory in the Met Mile.

Entries: Vosburgh S. (G2)

Belmont at the Big A, Saturday, September 30, 2023, Race 3

  • Grade II
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $250,000
  • 3 yo’s & up
  • 1:09 PM (local)

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