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2023 Vosburgh Stakes Preview & FREE Picks | Cody’s Wish Cuts Back In Final Breeders Cup Prep
Cody's Wish (Sue Kawczynski/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

2023 Vosburgh Stakes Preview & FREE Picks | Cody’s Wish Cuts Back In Final Breeders Cup Prep

Aaron previews the 2023 Vosburgh Stakes (G2) from Belmont at the Big A, then gives his top picks & long shots from this “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

After faltering in the 1 1/8-mile Whitney Stakes (G1), Cody’s Wish cuts back to 1 turn in his final prep race before the World Championships. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The press release:

Godolphin’s multiple Grade 1-winning Kentucky homebred Cody’s Wish will turn back to a one-turn sprint in Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Vosburgh, a seven-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up, at Belmont at the Big A.

The Vosburgh, slated as Race 3 on Saturday’s loaded 11-race card, is a “Win and You’re In” for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 4 at Santa Anita Park. The card also features the Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in Race 6, the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodward in Race 7, and the Grade 2, $250,000 Gallant Bloom in Race 5. First post is 12:05 p.m. Eastern.

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Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the fan favorite Cody’s Wish was last seen finishing a closing third in the Grade 1 Whitney traveling a two-turn nine furlongs on August 5 at Saratoga Race Course. It was the first time the son of Curlin had faced the nine-furlong distance since finishing third in a second-out maiden special weight in July 2021 at Saratoga and his first two-turn race since taking the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in thrilling fashion last year at Keeneland.

“One turn and seven [furlongs] to a mile is good for him,” said Mott. “We wanted to see if he could win the Whitney – it’s a very important race and if he could win the Met Mile and the Whitney, those are two very big races.”

Earlier this year, Cody’s Wish won the Grade 1 Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap with authority, pouncing from 4 1/4 lengths off the pace with a sweeping five-wide move to run down his rivals in the stretch and draw clear to a 3 1/4-length score under regular pilot Junior Alvarado. That effort capped a sublime six-race win streak that included Grade 1 triumphs in the Spa’s Forego, the Churchill Downs at its namesake track, and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Cody’s Wish is named after teenager Cody Dorman, who was born with the rare genetic disorder Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome and is unable to walk or communicate without utilizing a tablet. The story of the two Codys, who share a unique bond, has captured the hearts of many as Cody’s Wish has traveled across the nation since last March, drawing fans at five different racetracks and winning at four of them.

Mott commented on the 5-year-old’s physical condition and his temperament that allows him to bring his best race wherever he travels.

“Oh, he’s got a very nice disposition. He can be a little strong to gallop of course – he’s a big strong horse, but everything else about him is pretty good,” said Mott. “He’s actually carrying good flesh right now.”

After the Whitney, Cody’s Wish has remained at Saratoga to continue his preparations for the Vosburgh. He most recently covered a half-mile in 48.77 seconds on Saturday over the Oklahoma dirt training track, where Mott typically stables horses until it closes in early November.

“He’s training very well. His last breeze couldn’t have been any better and it was as good as we could have asked for,” Mott said.

Cody’s Wish, who boasts total purse earnings of $2,448,530 through a record of 14-9-1-4, will emerge from post 6 in rein to Alvarado.

Along with Cody’s Wish, Mott will also be represented by LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable’s graded stakes-winner High Oak [post 5, Katie Davis]. The 4-year-old bay son of Gormley arrives from a game third-place effort in the Grade 1 Forego won by Gunite over High Oak’s victorious stablemate and reigning Champion Male Sprinter Elite Power.

High Oak won the Spa’s Grade 2 Saratoga Special as a juvenile and made just one start as a sophomore in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth where he fell near the quarter pole and was away for the rest of the season. High Oak returned in March and was well-beaten in his first four starts this year, but has given two promising efforts in his last pair of starts when second in an optional claiming tilt on July 29 and in his aforementioned Forego effort.

Mott said the addition of jockey Katie Davis has proven to be a productive pairing.

“He’s finished up his last couple races pretty good. I’m pleased that he’s shown some willingness to try,” said Mott. “Katie has a great relationship with this horse. She gave him a chance early, didn’t rush him and gave him an opportunity to get his feet under him. When she asked him, he finished up nicely.”

Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown saddles Klaravich Stables’ Accretive for another try at his first stakes score as he enters from a pair of allowance-level wins.

The 4-year-old son of Practical Joke was an impressive winner on debut last June at Belmont Park before making a strong stakes debut when second, defeated a neck to multiple graded stakes-winner Gunite, in the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga. He closed out his sophomore campaign with an even fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial.

This year, Accretive is undefeated through two starts at Saratoga, beginning with a 3 3/4-length romp in a first-level allowance on July 22 and most recently taking a one-mile second-level optional claimer by one length on September 2. The $180,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase has banked $233,750 in earnings through his 5-3-1-0 record.

Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the call from post 4.

A. Bianco Limited’s New York-bred Sheriff Bianco [post 3, Jose Ortiz] has hit the board in all but one of his 17 starts since being haltered for $30,000 by trainer Linda Rice last July at Belmont Park. Since the claim, the gelded son of Speightster has amassed $551,773 in total purse earnings from a record of 26-6-11-5, including four wins and three stakes placings against fellow state-breds. Bred by SF Bloodstock, Sheriff Bianco enters from a second in a September 21 optional claimer here against open company.

Built Wright Stables’ graded stakes-placed Cowan [post 2, J. D. Acosta] won first off the claim for new connections last out when posting a half-length optional claiming coup on September 22 at Charles Town for trainer Raymond Ginter, Jr. Claimed for $62,500 from previous Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, Cowan finished a close second in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint in 2020 and the Saudi Derby in 2021.

Though his lone stakes victory came over grass in the 5 1/2-furlong Duncan F. Kenner via disqualification last January at Fair Grounds, the 5-year-old son of Kantharos boasts a consistent main track record of 9-3-4-0.

Completing the field is Holly Crest Farm’s graded stakes-placed Great Navigator for trainer Eddie Owens, Jr. The New Jersey homebred son of Sea Wizard has never missed the board in eight lifetime outings, including a last-out 10-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Charles Hesse, III Handicap on September 4 at Monmouth Park and a gutsy runner-up effort to Mo Strike in last year’s Grade 3 Sanford at Saratoga where he finished more than two lengths ahead of subsequent Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Forte.

Jairo Rendon has the call from post 1.