By Alan Carasso
Making his first start since taking out last year's GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, Cody's Wish (Curlin) became the third Grade I winner of the weekend for Godolphin–each for a different trainer–with a worst-to-first victory in Saturday's GI Churchill Downs S. He completed a sweep of the day's seven-furlong events after Matareya (Pioneerof the Nile) caused a minor upset in the Derby City Distaff and was adding to the wide-trip success of 'TDN Rising Star' Pretty Mischievous (Into Mischief) in Friday's GI Longines Kentucky Oaks.
Back markers had been facing an uphill battle on Saturday's program beneath the Twin Spires, and Cody's Wish found himself at the tail of the field through the opening exchanges as Here Mi Song (Cross Traffic) slid up the fence and set the pace–albeit a modest :22.70 for the opening quarter-mile–in advance of fellow longshot Hoist The Gold (Mineshaft). Slipped a bit of rein by Junior Alvarado with just under four furlongs to race, Cody's Wish began to catch the eye, as he effortlessly rolled up three or four wide outside of Tejano Twist (Practical Joke) midway on the turn and was in full stride when heads were turned for home. Roused left-handed with three-sixteenths of a mile to travel, Cody's Wish inhaled Hoist The Gold before the eighth pole and shot clear to take his current winning streak to five. Tejano Twist closed off well to finish third. Here Mi Song finished fourth and was vanned off, according to the chart, but X-rays proved negative.
“With this horse winning, it's really way more than a horse race,” said Bill Mott, winning his first Grade I at Churchill since Country House (Lookin At Lucky) was put up in the Derby four years ago. “For us, I mean, Cody Dorman, and Cody's Wish, make it something special. When this horse came back after the race, and hearing the crowd, they were going crazy up there, more than they normally cheer for any other race. And the horse is just so great. He's been showing up every time. He's been off since the Breeders' Cup, but it sure looked like he was ready today.
“I get choked up easily, but when he was walking over, my assistant Kenny said he paused, and he looked, and said it was almost like there is a connection there. Usually we don't see that in horses. For whatever reason, the horse knows something is special.”
Cody's Wish's dam, a $67,000 graduate of the 2010 Keeneland September Sale, was purchased by John Ferguson on behalf of Godolphin for $750,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale a handful of months later, and it proved a shrewd buy, as Dance Card won the 2012 GI Gazelle H. and was third to Groupie Doll (Bowman's Band) in the 2013 GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint before retiring to stud. A half-brother to MGSW Endorsed (Medaglia d'Oro), eighth in Saturday's race, Cody's Wish is kin to the 2-year-old colt Hunt Ball (Into Mischief) and a yearling filly by 2007 GI Kentucky Derby hero Street Sense. Dance Card was most recently bred to Gun Runner.
Saturday, Churchill Downs
CHURCHILL DOWNS S. PRESENTED BY FORD-GI, $750,000, Churchill Downs, 5-6, 4yo/up, 7f, 1:21.17, ft.
1–CODY'S WISH, 123, h, 5, 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.
$446,400. Lifetime Record: 12-8-1-3, $1,778,530. *1/2 to
Endorsed (Medaglia d'Oro), MGSW, $964,133.
Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
Free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Hoist the Gold, 123, c, 4, Mineshaft–Tacit Approval, by Tapit.
($47,000 RNA Ylg '20 KEESEP). O-Dream Team One Racing
Stable; B-Dream Team Racing (KY); T-Dallas Stewart. $144,000.
3–Tejano Twist, 123, g, 4, Practical Joke–Haley's Lolipop, by
Cuvee. 1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. O-JD Thoroughbreds LLC and
Davis, Joey Keith; B-Tom Durant (KY); T-Chris A. Hartman.
Margins: 4 3/4, HF, 3/4. Odds: 0.72, 10.10, 11.72.
Also Ran: Here Mi Song, Sir Alfred James, Get Her Number, Steal Sunshine, Endorsed, Fortin Hill. Scratched: C Z Rocket, White Abarrio. Click for the Equibase.com chart or the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.