By Christie DeBernardis
LEXINGTON, KY–Godolphin homebred Cody's Wish (Curlin) made quite a few wishes come true beneath cloudy skies Saturday when rallying from well back and edging MGISW Cyberknife (Gun Runner) to take the GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland.
The colt was named for 16-year-old Cody Dorman, who met the bay when he was just a foal at Gainsborough as part of Keeneland's Make-a-Wish day. Cody's Wish put his head in the young boy's lap, making an instant connection, and his story has touched many in the racing world. Dorman and his family were on hand all week ready to root his namesake on. Click here to read about both Codys.
“That was very special,” said trainer Bill Mott. “There's a big story behind it. Goes to show that the Make A Wish Foundation can make it very special for someone. The performance was awesome. He made a huge run turning for home.”
Favored at 2-1 off a win in the GI Forego S., Cody's Wish was unhurried early, caboosing the field as Pipeline (Speightstown) blitzed through a :22.20 first quarter with Gunite (Gun Runner) in tow and Cyberknife keeping close watch from a two-wide fourth. Cyberknife moved first as the half went in :45.71, but Cody's Wish had been popped the question as well by Junior Alvarado and began to make rapid progress up the outside. Gunite inherited the lead entering the bend with Cyberknife breathing down his neck and Cody's Wish charging up to confront them. They entered the lane three abreast and Gunite quickly waved the white flag, leaving the top two to battle it out. And they did indeed. The colts went stride-for-stride down the lane with Cody's Wish edging his younger foe late for a storybook ending to the Dirt Mile.
Longshot Slow Down Andy (Nyquist) rounded out the trifecta with Gunite holding fourth. Slow Down Andy's rider Mario Gutierrez claimed foul against Cyberknife for interference in the stretch, but the stewards left the result as is after an inquiry.
“I probably didn't have the trip that I was planning,” said an exuberant Junior Alvarado, who is a first-time Breeders' Cup winner. “He didn't break great, so I just took my time with him. I didn't want to rush him. He's a horse that can get a little rank. I took it little by little. By the 3/8th pole I was getting excited, but I knew there was a lot of race left to run. He finished up really well for me. When we turned for home, I knew I had the horse.”
A three-time winner during his 2021 campaign, Cody's Wish kicked off 2022 with a neck second in Tampa's GIII Challenger S. Mar. 12 and romped by five lengths next out in the one-mile GIII Westchester S. in the slop at Belmont May 7. Scoring by a neck next out over the re-opposing Three Technique (Mr Speaker) in Churchill's Hanshin S. July 4, the homebred came running late to take down champion Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music) in Saratoga's Forego Aug. 27, earning a gaudy 112 Beyer Speed Figure.
Cody's Wish became the third Breeders' Cup winner for the mighty Curlin, following GI Breeders' Cup Classic hero Vino Rosso and GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile scorer Good Magic and later added two more winners. While Tapit has sired several Breeders' Cup winners, this is his first as a broodmare sire. Godolphin went to $750,000 to acquire his dam Dance Card (Tapit) and the 2011 FTFFEB sale. She captured the GI Gazelle S. and was third in her trip to the Breeders' Cup in 2013 for the GI BC F/M Sprint S. Prior to Cody's Wish, she produced MGSP Endorsed (Medaglia d'Oro) and SP Bocephus (Medaglia d'Oro). Her recent produce includes a yearling colt by Into Mischief and a weanling filly by Street Sense. She was bred to Gun Runner this year.
BIG ASS FANS BREEDERS' CUP DIRT MILE-GI, $910,000, Keeneland, 11-5, 3yo/up, 1m, 1:35.33, ft.
1–CODY'S WISH, 126, c, 4, by Curlin
1st Dam: Dance Card (GISW, $502,200), by Tapit
2nd Dam: Tempting Note, by Editor's Note
3rd Dam: Tempt, by Devil's Bag
O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-William I. Mott; J-Junior Alvarado.
$520,000. Lifetime Record: 11-7-1-3, $1,332,130. *1/2 to
Endorsed (Medaglia d'Oro), MGSP, $713,903. Werk Nick
Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the
free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Cyberknife, 123, c, 3, Gun Runner–Awesome Flower, by
Flower Alley. ($400,000 Ylg '20 FTKSEL). O-Gold Square LLC;
B-Kenneth L. & Sarah K. Ramsey (KY); T-Brad H. Cox. $170,000.
3–Slow Down Andy, 123, c, 3, Nyquist–Edwina E, by
Square Eddie. O/B-Reddam Racing, LLC (CA); T-Doug F. O'Neill.
Margins: HD, 1 3/4, 2 1/4. Odds: 2.16, 3.26, 17.62.
Also Ran: Gunite, Law Professor, Three Technique, Simplification, Senor Buscador, Pipeline. Scratched: Informative, Laurel River.
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.