Cody’s Wish returned to his winning ways in the Belmont at the Big A meeting in the Grade 2, $250,000 Vosburgh when he turned back to seven furlongs. Last seen the 5-year-old horse was third in the 1 1/8-mile Whitney (G1) at Saratoga, which ended his six-race winning streak at distances of a mile or less.
As has gotten to be the way of Cody’s Wish and regular jockey Junior Alvarado, they were slow leaving the starting gate, which put him at the back of the six-horse field. Once the son of Curlin got into stride he began moving up on the outside down the backstretch and engaged the leader Accretive as the field entered the final turn.
“Right when he loaded, he started acting up,” Alvarado explained. “He fixed himself up a little bit there, but not 100 percent, and then they broke so I don’t think he got a chance to get his feet underneath him. He broke flatfooted out of there. The pace wasn’t too fast, so he had a chance to quicken himself and get in contention.”
Accretive broke on top with the New Jersey-bred Great Navigator and they set the pace in moderate fractions of 23.33 and 46.12 seconds. After three-quarters was run in 1:09.67, Cody’s Wish had gotten even with Accretive. Cody’s Wish got his head in front at the stretch call, and when Alvarado asked him for more he responded and extended the lead to 1 1/2 lengths at the wire.
“We had to put up with a little fight there, but I knew I had the horse to fight him,” Alvarado said. “I didn’t care how much we won by, just as long as he gave me that punch he always does turning for home. That’s all I was expecting, and he did it well.”
Cody’s Wish won for the 10th time in 15 career starts for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The Vosburgh is a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Cody’s Wish also earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile when he won the Met Mile (G1) in June at Belmont Park.
“It’s great just having him back (in the winner’s circle),” Mott said. “We would have been really disappointed had he not been able to handle this group. He was supposed to win. I thought he did it well enough and at the wire, he was getting away from them. Turning for home, that other horse gave him a little bit of a tussle, but past the eighth pole, it looked like he showed up."
Cody’s Wish used the Vosburgh as his final prep race for the Breeders’ Cup and is being pointed to the Dirt Mile, with Mott aiming Elite Power at the six-furlong Sprint.
Mott explained whether the Vosburgh got Cody’s Wish ready for the Breeders’ Cup. “I would think so. It wasn’t so brilliant you worry about taking everything out of him, but it was enough to see that he still wants to do it and can do it.”
Cody’s Wish was a heavy 1-9 favorite and paid $2.30, $2.10, $2.10. Accertive was 9-2 and completed a $2 exacta that returned $5.40. At 22-1, Great Navigator was third and finished a $17.60 trifecta.