Cody’s Wish Aiming for Derby Day Return

Cody’s Wish (Curlin), last seen capturing the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in dramatic fashion at Keeneland Nov. 5, is targeting the GI Churchill Downs S. on the GI Kentucky Derby undercard for his 2023 lidlifter.

The Godolphin homebred returned to the worktab with a three-furlong breeze in :38.80 (2/3) at Hall of Famer Bill Mott’s Payson Park base Mar. 1.

“He is doing very well,” Godolphin USA Director of Bloodstock Michael Banahan said. “He looks in fantastic shape. After the Breeders’ Cup, he probably needed a little bit of a break, and it did him well. He’s a big horse already and he filled out and got even stronger. Bill is very happy with him. He’s just stepping it up a little bit now.”

Cody’s Wish, an Eclipse Award finalist for champion sprinter, capped his 4-year-old campaign riding a four-race winning streak. He punched his ticket to Lexington with a breakthrough victory over champion sprinter Jackie’s Warrior (Maclean’s Music) with a career-best 112 Beyer Speed Figure in the GI Forego S. at Saratoga Aug. 27.

The bay is a perfect four-for-four at the site of his intended seven-furlong comebacker, all going a one-turn mile, led by last summer’s Hanshin S.

Looking further ahead in 2023, races like the prestigious GI Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan H. on the loaded GI Belmont S. program could be on the radar for Cody’s Wish as well.

“You hate to get too far ahead of yourself, but if he’s doing well, we’ll certainly be looking in that direction for sure,” Banahan said.

Cody’s Wish, one of 20 Grade I winners for leading sire and two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, was produced by GI Gazelle S. heroine and late-running GI Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint third-place finisher Dance Card (Tapit). His 7-year-old half-brother Endorsed (Medaglia d’Oro) is currently on a three-race winning streak of his own, including wins this winter for trainer Mike Maker in the GIII Fred W. Hooper S. and GII WinStar Gulfstream Park Mile S., respectively.

With G1 Dubai World Cup winner and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Mystic Guide (Ghostzapper) and GI Carter H. winner Speaker’s Corner (Street Sense) already set to join the stallion roster at Jonabell Farm in 2023, the decision was made to have Cody’s Wish remain in training for his 5-year-old season.

“We debated it extensively internally,” Banahan said. “After he beat Jackie’s Warrior in the Forego, we thought we could go wherever we wanted with him as far as a stallion prospect. Probably what made it a little bit easier, we had two new stallions coming in already and we felt that there was still plenty to achieve with Cody’s Wish. We’re hoping to have a really big year with him.”

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