Returning to a sprint distance for Sunday’s $250,000 Vosburgh S. (G2) at Aqueduct worked wonders for Cody’s Wish, who picked up his third graded stakes win of the year in comfortable fashion.
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner suffered a rare defeat when stretching out over 1 1/8 miles for the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga two months ago, but cutting back to seven furlongs for the Vosburgh put Cody’s Wish back in the winner’s circle.
Facing only five rivals while favored at 0.15-1, Cody’s Wish broke slowly under jockey Junior Alvarado, but quickly recovered under urging. After an opening quarter-mile in :23.33, Cody’s Wish was racing in fourth place, only 1 1/2 lengths behind pacesetting Accretive. By the time the field had negotiated half a mile in :46.12, Cody’s Wish was up to second place by half a length.
Approaching the homestretch, Cody’s Wish advanced outside of Accretive while longshot Great Navigator slipped through along the rail, and for a brief moment a three-way battle seemed imminent. But Great Navigator soon faltered, and Cody’s Wish gradually edged clear of Accretive to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:21.83.
Great Navigator held on for third place, followed by Sheriff Bianco, High Oak, and Cowan.
“It’s great just having him back (in the winner’s circle),” said winning trainer Bill Mott. “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 (Accretive) gave him a little bit of a tussle, but past the eighth pole, it looked like he showed up.”
As part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, the Vosburgh awarded Cody’s Wish a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita. But plans call for the five-year-old Godolphin homebred to target a defense of his Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile title rather than cut back to six furlongs for the Sprint.
“Coming back to seven-eighths after running a mile and an eighth was a little bit of a challenge, but it seemed like he adapted well,” said Michael Manahan, director of bloodstock for Godolphin. “We know he’s good in those one-turn races be it seven-eighths or a mile. He showed again today that he’s a specialist at those distances. When we go out to California, he’ll have to do (two turns) again, but he did that at Keeneland last year. We’re looking forward to it… We’ll try to be a repeat winner of the Breeders’ Cup (Dirt) Mile. We’re hoping he can do that again, he’s obviously one of the best horses in the country and we’d like to maintain that position if we can.”
Cody’s Wish kicked off a big day for Mott, Alvarado, and Godolphin. An hour later they teamed up to win the Gallant Bloom (G2) with Caramel Swirl, though unlike Cody’s Wish, Caramel Swirl needed a little help from the stewards.
Caramel Swirl started as the 0.95-1 favorite in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint after winning the Vagrancy (G3) and hitting the board in the Bed o’ Roses (G2) and Ballerina H. (G1) on the New York circuit. In the Gallant Bloom, she trailed the six-horse field through fractions of :22.65 and :45.93 and was advancing to challenge between rivals when pacesetting Headland drifted out and the rallying Sterling Silver drifted in, squeezing Caramel Swirl and causing her to check.
Sterling Silver continued on to cross the finish line first by four lengths in 1:16.18, while Headland held off Caramel Swirl by half a length for second place. But a stewards’ inquiry resulted in the double disqualification of Sterling Silver to second place and Headland to third place, leaving Caramel Swirl as the winner.
Once the dust had settled, Mott indicated the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) could be next on the agenda for Caramel Swirl.
“The thing is, there’d be a lot of pace in the Breeders’ Cup, and at seven furlongs, that’s kind of her distance,” said Mott. “It depends on what Godolphin wants to do. We’ll talk. I’m sure they’ll have some thoughts on it, and maybe they want to take a shot at it—I’m sure the filly will probably retire next year. We’ll see.”