ELMONT, N.Y. – Godolphin homebred Cody’s Wish, perfectly handled by Junior Alvarado, surged to a five-length score in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Westchester, a one-turn mile for older horses, at Belmont Park.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the 4-year-old Curlin colt out of the Grade 1-winning Tapit mare Dance Card, entered from a narrow neck defeat to Scalding in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Challenger on March 12 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Alvarado angled Cody’s Wish outside of Sound Money to take command late in the turn, opening up a 3 1/2-length lead at the stretch call and widened at will before gearing down late to score in a final time of 1:34.68.
“I had to make a little move [in the turn] because the horse in front kind of floated by the three-eighths pole a little wide and I didn’t want anybody to really get through the rail,” Alvarado said. “At that point, I felt I had enough horse and figured he would carry me all the way to the wire. He’s a big horse who needs a big, long run, so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem.
“I don’t think he loved the track and I wouldn’t say he hated it either,” Alvarado added. “But he did give me the feeling a couple times that he struggled a little bit to get a hold of the sloppy track. I think he was just much the best today.”
“He was second-best, and the winner was much the best,” Carmouche said. “I thought he ran a good race to be stepping up in this type of company on a wet track. I thought he ran awesome.”
Cody’s Wish graduated at fourth asking traveling one-mile in October at Churchill Downs to kick off a three-race win streak at the Louisville oval that included a pair of November allowance wins. He made his graded stakes debut in the Challenger from a four-month layoff.
“I’m looking forward to what’s next. He’s a horse that we’ve been pretty high on,” Alvarado said. “Bill Mott likes to take it step by step and he doesn’t like to rush with them. He lets them develop. That always helps in the long run. It’s helped this horse.”
The victory built on a successful weekend for Alvarado and Mott, who teamed up to win the Grade 2 Alysheba with Olympiad on Friday at Churchill Downs.
“We’ve been doing this for 11 years now and I’m just very glad that he still has confidence in me and gives me the opportunity to ride these nice horses. Things keep working out for us,” Alvarado said.
A Kentucky homebred, Cody’s Wish banked $110,000 in victory while improving his record to 8-4-1-3. He returned $3.70 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing continues Sunday at Belmont with a nine-race card featuring the Grade 2, $200,000 Ruffian in Race 8. First post is 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
By Keith McCalmont/NYRA Press Office
Photo: Chelsea Durand