Saratoga’s historic reputation as the “Graveyard of Favorites” claimed its latest victim on Saturday when champion sprinter Jackie’s Warrior was run down inside the final furlong by Cody’s Wish in the $589,000 Forego S. (G1).
Jackie’s Warrior entered the Forego undefeated from four starts this year and 5-for-5 in his career over the Saratoga surface. Favored at 15 cents on the dollar, Jackie’s Warrior dueled down the backside with Pipeline, made hard work of putting away that rival by mid-stretch, but had little left to fend off Cody’s Wish.
“I can’t [emphasize] how blessed we’ve been to have Jackie’s Warrior. Only just a little sad that was his last time to run here at Saratoga because he’s brought us so much fun and joy here,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “He’ll be sharp for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). That will be his next and last race.”
Cody’s Wish raced alongside Drafted at the back of the field down the backside, began a steady advance on the far turn, and finished full of run to win the seven-furlong Forego by 1 1/4 lengths under Junior Alvarado. The final time over a fast track was a swift 1:20.95.
“When we turned for home and I saw Jackie’s Warrior didn’t take off, at that point we’re taking a good shot at it, and right by the eighth pole I had a good feeling at that point,” Alvarado said.
A homebred racing for Godolphin and trained by Bill Mott, Cody’s Wish paid $18 as the 8-1 second choice. Jackie’s Warrior finished second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Pipeline, who had six lengths on Baby Yoda. Completing the order of finish were Drafted, Three Two Zone, and Kneedeepinsnow.
This was the third consecutive stakes win for Cody’s Wish, who captured the one-mile Westchester (G3) at Belmont Park by five length on May 7 and the Hanshin S. over one mile at Churchill Downs by a neck. The four-year-old began his career last June with three straight third-place efforts, but has since won six of his last seven. The only setback during that span was a runner-up finish by a neck in the Challenger (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.
“I thought he’d probably win the first out of his life and it took him a few races to get going and really come into form,” Mott said. “He needed to get some experience and now he’s turned into a racehorse.”
Bred in Kentucky, Cody’s Wish is by Curlin and out of the Grade 1-winning Dance Card, by Tapit. His record now stands at 10-6-1-3, $812,130.