April 16, 2024

Cody’s Wish all class in Met Mile

Cody's Wish wins the Metropolitan H. (Photo by Jetta Vaughns/Coglianese Photos)

Remarkable fan favorite Cody’s Wish was an authoritative winner of the $1 million Metropolitan H. (G1) at Belmont Park on Saturday, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first ever win in the famed one-mile event while also giving his sire, Curlin, his third graded stakes winner on the Belmont Stakes Day card.

Unhurried near the tail of the field while saving ground the backside, Cody’s Wish improved position entering the far turn, but had to pause his momentum when running room between rivals failed to materialize. Shifted outside by jockey Junior Alvarado midway around the turn, Cody’s Wish proceeded to circle the field, grabbed the lead entering the stretch and won as he pleased by 3 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:34.36.

“I was just trying to find my way out. At about the half-mile pole, I found my seam, moved behind the heels of horses to get into the clear, then he turned everything on. Then, I just had to get out of his way and let him do his thing. He’s unbelievable,” Alvarado said.

“He was just taking me for a ride. We were passing horses two-by-two; normally it is one-by-one. I was very excited, I wasn’t even really pushing him so I knew he had another gear. It was a great feeling from the three-eighths pole to the wire.”

A homebred racing for Godolphin, Cody’s Wish paid $3.30. Zandon a headbob for second over White Abbario, with Charge It in fourth. The order of finish was rounded out by Dr. Schivel, Slow Down Andy, Repo Rocks, Hoist the Gold, and Doppelganger.

Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, the presenting sponsor of the Met Mile, stands two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, who was represented earlier in the card by the Mott-trained champion sprinter Elite Power in the True North (G2) and by leading older mare Clairiere in the Ogden Phipps (G1).

If not for a neck loss in the his stakes debut, the Challenger (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs in March 2022, Cody’s Wish would be riding a 10-race win streak. His stakes win streak has now reached six, beginning last summer with scores in the Westchester (G3), Hanshin S., Forego (G1), and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). By winning the Met Mile, Cody’s Wish earned an automatic bid into this year’s Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.

Cody’s Wish kicked off his 2023 campaign on Kentucky Derby Day, winning the seven-furlong Churchill Downs (G1) by 4 3/4 lengths.

“He’s developed nicely,” Mott said. “I thought he had a possibility of being a good horse before we ever ran him. It took us a couple of races to get him going in the right direction and to get him educated enough to where he knew how to use his run. He’s finally figured it out.”

Bred in Kentucky, Cody’s Wish is out of Grade 1 winner Dance Card, a daughter of Tapit who has also been represented this year by Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) winner Endorsed. His record now stands at 13-9-1-3, $2,328,530.