“White,” “Wish,” and Wonderful

I must preface this intro by saying this column was written before the death of Cody Dorman. I have added it to the story where I felt if was most appropriate. The 2023 Breeders’ Cup had something for everyone with emotions running high on both days. We saw champions run like champions and a few surprises, as is always the case. Here are my thoughts as I look back on this special weekend of racing. ~ Steve Haskin

“White,” “Wish,” and Wonderful 

By Steve Haskin

Cody’s Wish wins 2023 Breeders’s Cup Dirt Mile


There were so many aspects to this year’s Breeders’ Cup, including the safe trips for everyone, let’s just get right to it.

Battle of the Scriptwriters

What happens when you have two scriptwriters with two totally different approaches to a storyline? You get one about the uplifting and often tear-jerking story of Cody’s Wish and Cody Dorman and the colt’s heart-pounding and ultimately suspenseful farewell to racing and the other about the dramatic and rapid return to the top of the racing world by the polarizing Rick Dutrow following an unprecedented 10-year suspension.

As an addition to the latter’s story, there is the up and down career of a $7,500 yearling purchase named White Abarrio who after early success seemed to be headed to a mediocre career and a stud date at some small farm light years from his place of birth at the elite Spendthrift Farm. But then came a series of odd events that led him to Dutrow’s barn and the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner’s circle.

We all are very familiar with the Cody’s Wish story that ended on the racetrack with a thrilling and emotional nose victory in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, a race he also won in dramatic fashion last year. This one, however, was followed by a steward’s inquiry that seemed interminable and had everyone on the edge of their seats until the announcement came that there would be no change, giving what seemed to be an appropriate closure to one of the great feel-good stories of all time. Author’s note: Word came late Sunday night that Cody Dorman, with visions of Cody’s Wish’s stirring victory still swirling in his mind, had fallen asleep on the plane ride back to Kentucky and never woke up. He had finally been able to bask in the brightest light of his life, receiving worldwide fame and the love of people touched by his story, and when it was over he closed his eyes and no longer was trapped in the body that had betrayed him since childhood. Perhaps Cody is now somewhere riding on the back of Cody’s Wish, the horse who had made his dream come true.

More will be written about Cody’s Wish in the weeks to come as he tries for a Horse of the Year title and his second Secretariat Vox Populi Award as the nation’s most popular horse.

Fast forward seven races to the Classic. The 2023 story of White Abarrio started during Derby week when the horse’s trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. was suspended at Churchill Downs when two of his horses died suddenly for no apparent reason. This came following the death of several other horses at Churchill Downs due to injury.  The colt’s owners, C2 Racing Stable, fearing that White Abarrio would not be allowed to enter at other tracks, took the horse away from Joseph and turned him over to Dutrow, who had returned from his suspension only a month earlier, and told him they wanted to keep the horse around one turn, preferably sprinting.

Following a good third place finish behind Cody’s Wish in the Met Mile it was decided to point for the seven-furlong Forego Stakes at Saratoga. But then something happened that would change the entire course of White Abarrio’s and Rick Dutrow’s career. Andrew Byrnes, the stakes coordinator at NYRA, called Dutrow and told him they had only three horses horses for the 1 1/8-mile Whitney Stakes. Dutrow knew the only one who would be tough to beat was Cody’s Wish, who was trying to stretch out in distance for the first time. He called the owners and told them the situation and they agreed it would be worth it to take a shot at the longer, more prestigious race. Surprising everyone, including Dutrow, White Abarrio demolished his five opponents by 6 1/4 lengths, earning whopping speed figures. Just like that they had a serious Breeders’ Cup Classic horse on their hands, and the rest as they say is history.

As Dutrow said before the Classic, “We were happy to go in the Forego, but it was just fate. Now I’m licking my chops because I see him running better this time. He’s been deadly in the mornings and giving us all the right signs. He’s going to run a huge race. I’m trying to get back on top of the world and the only way to do that is through your horses. I’m all into horses, they control my mind. When they’re not right neither am I, but when they are right so am I.”

And White Abarrio sure was right in the Classic, and even with only two victories this year, he has put himself in the conversation for Horse of the Year. And just think, if it wasn’t for that phone call from Andrew Byrnes White Abarrio would have run in the Forego and might very well have been facing Cody’s Wish again in the Dirt Mile and we wouldn’t need two scriptwriters to tell the story of the 2023 Breeders’ Cup.

Aidan and a bettin’

The history of the Breeders’ Cup can never be told without discussing the support and participation year after year of the forever youthful Aidan O’Brien and his Ballydoyle Bombers. By adding his 17th and 18th Breeders’ Cup winners with Unquestionable in the Juvenile Turf and Auguste Rodin in the Turf, his fifth victory in the mile and a half test, he tied Bob Baffert for most wins. Not only did O’Brien win two races, he also had two seconds, a third, and a fourth.

He also was involved in a bit of drama earlier in the day Friday when his main hope for the Juvenile Turf, River Tiber, was ordered scratched by veterinarians during their pre-race examinations, a decision with which O’Brien was not in agreement. So what does he do? He winds up running first and second in the race with new favorite Unquestionable and 22-1 shot Mountain Bear. He also finished second with Warm Heart in the Filly and Mare Turf, beaten a neck by the favorite Inspiral. By winning the Classic with Auguste Rodin he has guided the colt though a long hard year in which he captured the English and Irish Derbys and the Irish Champion Stakes.

For those who look at Ballydoyle as some mythical horse kingdom somewhere in County Tipperary that turns out champions every year on an assembly line, you have to experience it to understand what an amazing horse haven this is and what a remarkable horseman O’Brien is.

The success of Ballydoyle, O’Brien, and Coolmore is not just a result of breeding and purchasing some of the best-bred horses in the world. It is the operation itself and the genius of O’Brien, as well as the camaraderie that is so prevalent and the way O’Brien relates to all the help.

Soft spoken and all consuming, O’Brien’s voice can, as the saying goes, “soothe a savage breast, soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.”

On one particular August morning way back in 2002, O’Brien got into his Mitsubishi Shogun and tore through the narrow paths of Ballydoyle, darting precariously between fences and buildings with such velocity it was like being on a ride at Six Flags. He pulled up to an intersection on one of the dirt tracks just as a string of 45 2-year-olds, yes, 45, were approaching from the right. He took a quick look, then put his vehicle in reverse and headed back down the track to await them.

The dirt track at Ballydoyle is extremely narrow by American standards, leaving only a few feet of space between O’Brien’s Mitsubishi and the railing. But not one of the Ballydoyle babies even flinched, walking calmly by as O’Brien conducted what can best be described as a melodic symphony of instructions to the riders. Not only did he have no hesitation in recognizing every one of the 45 horses, he made it a point to follow each set of instructions with the rider’s name. Even when one of their names briefly escaped him, he would not continue until he addressed that rider by name.

So, the symphony began, with O’Brien’s soft, calming voice the only instrument.

“Hack and a nice steady, Vivian…Hack and a nice steady, Niall…One hack, Seamus, and back into the barn…Michael, you can do two hacks, then go to the last of the colts.” And so on and so on.

“They’re going to do a hack the first time,” O’Brien said. “Then we’ll see them again. Depending on how they are they’ll do another canter. We look mostly at their overall well-being and the look in their eye. Then we’ll talk to the lads before we decide what to do the second time. Their eyes can tell you an awful lot about them and how they’re behaving. The bad ones show themselves very quickly, especially amongst good horses. You know very early, sometimes in February or March, what they’re capable of.”

So the next time you see Aidan’s army parade single file on the track at the Breeders’ Cup watch the general and know there is only one like him. Ballydoyle is far from a factory; it is a place where horses and humans thrive in a harmonious atmosphere, with all that positive energy resulting in worldwide success.

The Sun is Still Rising Despite Defeats

Just because the Japanese did not win a race, with their two stars Songline and Ushba Tesoro failing to hit the board, do not think for a second that they did not assert themselves more than admirably.

They demonstrated what astute horsemen they are by finishing a fast-closing second in the Classic with our old friend Derma Sotogake, who was beaten only one length by White Abarrio at odds of 26-1, despite coming off a six-month layoff and missing his scheduled prep. And then there was Shahryar, who overcame tons of traffic to finish third in the Turf, beaten only 1 1/4 lengths at 25-1. In front of him was the best horse in England and Ireland and best grass horse in America. We also have to acknowledge the fourth-place finish of Win Marilyn, who rallied from 10th to also be beaten only 1 1/4 lengths at odds of 38-1. Even Songline, despite finishing fifth, was beaten only 1 1/4 lengths. That’s four horses beaten a combined 4 3/4 lengths, three of them 25-1 or higher. And it’s not like Ushba Tesoro was embarrassed in the Classic finishing fifth, beaten 3 1/4 lengths. The Japanese will be back. Be prepared for anything.

Magnificent Mott Takes the Spotlight.

We recently wrote a column about spending a quiet October morning with Bill Mott and his Breeders’ Cup hopefuls. Seeing Cody’s Wish stroll past our friend’s back gate at 10:45 and watching him get his morning bath; having my wife pet Just F Y I; spending some time with the not so approachable Elite Power; and getting close up and personal with Casa Creed and War Like Goddess made this a memorable morning.

Then to see Cody’s Wish, Just F Y I, and Elite Powe all win their Breeders’ Cup races and the gallant 7-year-old warrior Casa Creed finish a powerful third, beaten only a half-length by two highly regarded European milers owned by Godolphin made it all the more special.

This only adds to Casa Creed’s legacy, especially in foreign competition, having been beaten a neck and a head in the last two Saudi Arabian Sprint Cups and now holding a 2-1 advantage over the great Japanese mare Songline, winner of over $6 million. He has not been beaten by an American horse since early June. It is very rare to see a complete horse still competing at age 7, never mind at this level and actually being in the best form of his career.

Needless to say we were overjoyed to see Mott have such great success on Breeders’ Cup weekend. No one deserves it more.

You can Still Put on a Show if the track is Slow

Was that the Santa Anita track they were running over this past weekend, the one known for its fast times? Was that Santa Anita where they came home the last quarter in a sloth-like :27 2/5 in the Classic, or :26 1/5 and :14 in the Distaff, or :26 in the Dirt Mile with Cody’s Wish coming back with his head covered with dirt?

What made this surface so weird were the opening factions compared to the closing fractions. For instance the Distaff splits were :22 1/5, :23 4/5, :23 4/5, :26 1/5 and :14. The Classic’s were :22 2/5, :23 1/5, :24 3/5, :25, and :27 2/5.

But who really cares? At a time when racetracks are known for speeding up their surface on big days I only know we saw safe and formful racing. Of the nine Breeders’ Cup races on Saturday, eight of them were won by horses who went off at odds of 3-1 or lower. And we saw three horses – Cody’s Wish, Goodnight Olive, and Elite Power – repeat their Breeders’ Cup victories from last year at Keeneland.

As for Santa Anita’s firm turf course, here is what the Europeans did: Juvenile Turf Sprint (1st, 2nd, 3rd), Juvenile Fillies Turf (2nd), Juvenile Turf (1st, 2nd), Filly and Mare Turf (1st, 2nd), Mile (1st, 2nd), Turf (1st), and Turf Sprint (3rd). If you weren’t keeping score that is five victories, five seconds, and two thirds.

Derby Doings Already?

If I were doing my first Derby Rankings, it would be a Top 1, although Fierceness’ stablemate Locked showed enough to be considered a Derby horse. When I saw Fierceness’ opening line at 99-1 in the first Derby Future Wager I rushed in to make a bet despite my previous refusal to bet any Future Wager. That’s how much I believed this colt was going to run huge in the Juvenile, despite his last race debacle, and especially with him being this big of a bargain. Lo and behold I go there late Wednesday and he’s 28-1. Oh well.

What I loved about this colt after watching him freak in his career debut is that in his dam Nonna Bella’s first five generations are six Belmont winners, five Travers winners, four Kentucky Derby winners, and two Breeders’ Cup Classic winners. Also in her pedigree are Hall of Famers Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Spectacular Bid, Damascus, Arts and Letters, Holy Bull, and A.P. Indy, who have combined to win 12 classics.

A few more shout outs

Up to the Mark lost nothing in defeat and in fact was even more impressive in some ways. Stretching out to 1 1/2 miles for the first time he was closer to the pace than usual and still put in a good run, which I thought was a little too soon and took away from his explosive turn of foot. But he still finished second to one of the top two horses in Europe, finishing ahead of three classy European group 1 winners.

A lot of the handicappers felt he should have gone in the Mile, which was won by the horse he defeated at a mile in his last start. But he ventured into the unknown against a much better field and proved he is one of the best grass horses in the world at a mile, 1 1/8 miles, 1 1/4 miles, and 1 1/2 miles.

Another shout out goes to Skippylongstockings, who finished a game third in the Dirt Mile. In his last 12 starts he has run at 11 different racetracks in eight different stakes, Along the way he has won three graded stakes and finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, Belmont Stakes, and Wood Memorial.

And finally we have to salute the tough and honest Proxy for his fast-closing third in the Classic at 17-1. This horse has run in three Grade 1 stakes at a mile at a quarter this year and was second, beaten a neck, in the Santa Anita Handicap, second, beaten a head, in The Jockey Club Gold Cup, and third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. But in the past year he has won a Grade 1 at Churchill Downs, a Grade 2 at Oaklawn Park, and a Grade 3 at Monmouth Park.

Photo Courtesy of Godolphin/

Racing historian, author, and award-winning retired journalist for the Daily Racing Form and The Blood-Horse, Steve Haskin was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame’s Media Roll of Honor in 2016. Known for his racing knowledge and insightful prose, he has been an exclusive contributor to since 2020.



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137 Responses to ““White,” “Wish,” and Wonderful”

  1. Happyanunoit says:

    Win Carnelian ran one of the best races in the whole breeders cup for a horse that did not hit the board. As I stood in the tunnel before the stairs watching the horses go to the track as they met their lead ponies, the 4 horse looked unbelievable. As did the filly Songline. Astronomer also looked phenomenal and I thought his speed was overlooked and I bet him because of it. I did not know of Win Carnelians speed but wow after setting those fractions and still hanging in there (margin of defeat not finishing position), it was apropos to his looks. Always respect the lone speed horses in the Mile ala Obviously and so on.

  2. Delrene Sims says:

    Thanks for the shout out to Skippylongstocking and Proxy. Thrilled for both of them.
    Great summation on the BC. Thank you.

  3. Davids says:

    Here are the 2023 Cartier Awards for those who missed them:

    Cartier Horse of the Year
    Ace Impact

    Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt
    Ace Impact

    Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly

    Cartier Older Horse

    Cartier Sprinter

    Cartier Stayer

    Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt
    City Of Troy

    Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly
    Opera Singer

    The US fans might get to see City of Troy in the Travers Stakes next year. Dream, dream, dream…

  4. John says:

    Regarding Fierceness:
    You being a thorograph user he ran a negative # as a two year old. Last Derby horse do to that was Bolt D Oro
    History says and horse that runs a – # at 2 is a good bet against in the derby.
    Always a pleasure to read your column.
    Good luck

  5. Lynda King says:

    Happy Friday everyone.

    To all the Veterans, thank you for your service!

    Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Taking an intermission from all social media for awhile, something I do from time to time, to recharge my batteries.

    Take care everyone.

  6. Lynda King says:

    Arcangelo will indergo surgery for condylar fracture.

    My heart goes out to the harness racing community. 12 plus horses perished in the fire, final count undetermined. Couple of teams lost everything.
    LE has arson suspect in custody.

    • Ms Blacktype says:

      The fracture is “short” and is in the same leg where the foot bruise was discovered, according to DRF. Good thing Antonucci backed off on him. He’s expected to have a swift recovery after surgery, but fingers crossed.

      What a tragedy about the barn fire, for both horses and the humans who loved them.

      • Ms Blacktype says:

        I find it intriguing that Rich Strike is being offered at auction, very unusual for a Derby winner. He’s inbred 2×3 to Smart Strike, which should give his foals stamina. His dam line is a bit obscure, despite being out of Canadian champion Gold Strike and a half to Grade 2 winner Llarnarmon. I wish the horse had been offered for sale sooner than the end of his four-year-old year. With better management, he would probably have won more races.

  7. Laura Lee Lanham says:

    I only watched the replays as my internet not great. Now how many heading off to stud to throw more bleeding, bad hooves, etc.?

    Enough racing on the west coast and move the race back east for a change. Always having the Breeder Cup out west has gotten very old.

  8. Lynda King says:

    Tragic barn fire at Tioga Downs this morning. Horse casualties reported. Terrible blow to harness racing community.

    Rich Strike retired, on going leg issues. To be offered at Keeneland sale as a breeding stallion.

    Almost 4 weeks into her recovery, Echo Zulu continues to do well.

    Repole has indicated Nest will return to racing.

  9. John Goggin says:

    Earlier today it was announced that Del Mar, which will host the 2024 Breeders’ Cup, will also host the 2025 Breeders’ Cup as well which would make it the three times in five years (2021-2025) and the first time in over a decade that a same track will host this event….or the tenth time in 13 years dating back to 2012 that a Southern California track has hosted the BC.
    Anyone else notice that Churchill Downs is snubbed once again with only hosted the BC once in those 13 years (2012-20250.

    • Matthew W says:

      Makes everyone have to ship at least once …west based horses have to ship several times….I have heard they like Del Mar, and I know the Japanese prefer the west coast …Weather matters…..

    • Mike Relva says:

      John, how did Bob do @ Breeders Cup?

      • John Goggin says:

        12 horse deaths, the closing of Arlington Park and others but the voters on Tuesday in Virginia to their credit voted against Churchill Downs on two measures to expand casino gambling into their state (Richmond and Northern Virginia) which shocked CD CEO Bill Carstanjen after spending several millions into this campaign to invade this state with his greed.
        But Bob still resides rent free in your head.

        • Lynda King says:

          Not exactly John.

          In Virginia voters in a locality have to approve building a casino.
          This is the 2nd time the measure failed for a casino/hotel/resort in the city.
          First time it lost by 51%, this time 61%.
          Grass roots organizations were able to convince voters that the project would exploit the mostly Black, poor communities in the city.
          The argument from the casino developers and Mayor of Richmond was the casino would bring jobs etc.
          Actually the City of Richmond was for the casino because of badly needed tax revenues.

          The Virginia Lottery issued 5 licenses for casinos several years ago. There is one license left.
          Voters have already approved casinos in 4 other localities, one being Norfolk.
          Colonial Downs already has a casino.

          Here in Georgia the State Assembly decides on such matters. We tried for ten years go get the racetrack on a statewide voter referendum.The Georgia Assembly would not allow even that.
          Ironically they did approve a casino in the Northeast Georgia, close to the border with South Carolina.

          It’s all politics John.

        • Mike Relva says:

          Sure ‘John’. If BB prevailed u would sing same song as usual As for CD,problem is all familiar w/ disdain, cause ‘chosen one is no longer welcome. Give me a break!

    • John, I agree with you that Del Mar is a GREAT venue for the Breeder Cup. Was there when Gun Runner won the Classic and the atmosphere was ELECTRIC !!! I agree with you about Churchill Downs and them being looked over the the Breeder Cup. They are not going to take the chance of being denied the BEST trainer in the country and the GREAT barn of horses he brings to the event because CD will not let his horse race at their tracks. Your loss CD stop your silliness !!!

      • Matthew W says:

        They WANT to have it at Belmont but Belmont has not applied in many years, they WANT Churchill….but that turf course ….today was sunny but off turf again …The west draws the Japan horses, and Euros like it ….every dirt races this year, all nine—were won by Saratoga runners, but ya can’t please everyone….

  10. Davids says:

    From November 4 – November 11 (Melbourne time), I will have watched 23 Grade/Group 1 races live the world over. What a difference the internet makes to horse racing.

    • Todd Vaughn says:

      There certainly is no putting the Geenie back in the bottle, but i always find myself conflicted about technology. I think unlimited access to heroes, equine or otherwise, somehow makes them smaller. I remember in the late 70s, NYRA televised the race of the week, and it seemed important, though it may have been a small stake on the Aqueduct inner track. Listening to a baseball game on the radio was once a big summer activity; now every game is on tv, and it’s not that exciting. And newspapers, which i loved, have become obsolete
      On the other hand, i remember an episode of the old TV series, Taxi. Crazy Reverend Jim blew an inheritence buying a room full of TVs and cable from around the world. His friends ridiculed him and told him to get a life, then sat transfixed when they actually saw what was available on those TVs. And your reports from Australia provide just enough of a glimpse into another world of racing to still hold a little mystery. Finally, without the internet, this forum would not exist, which would be a loss.

      • arlingtonfan says:

        I’m sad about the decline of newspapers too, Todd. But as someone whose local track will be closing in six months and who can’t afford cable TV, I’m thankful that the Internet gives me a chance to stay in touch with racing. And like you, I’m grateful for the existence of the community here.

        • Todd Vaughn says:

          It seems many of us are outliving our home tracks. Mine was Atlantic City, and for me nothing really can replace it. I also rely on the internet to continue my connection to racing.

          • SJ says:

            Best turf course in the country at the time. Spent one summer there in the mid 70’s. The Library still open?

          • Davids says:

            I miss Atlantic City as well but the loss of Hialeah is a heartbreaking.

            • Todd Vaughn says:

              I never got to Hialeah, but from what i’ve seen, it appeared spectacular. I know they teased bringing it back for awhile, but, not to be. I did visit Tampa Bay Downs once and it maintains a little bit of the old track character. Delaware Park still has the great paddock, but the rest of it is lost to a casino and sports betting.

              • Davids says:

                For me, there are half-a-dozen racecourses that have a unique presence: Chantilly, Flemington, Hialeah Park, ParisLongchamp, Santa Anita, and Royal Ascot. There are dozens of other tracks like Keeneland, Del Mar which I really like but those six have that certain je ne sais quoi which make them extra special.

              • SJ says:

                Hialeah, in it’s prime, was the Grande Dame of winter racing. After John Brunetti took over and began the fight with Gulfstream for the prime winter dates, the decline began. It was the fairest, and safest, surface and it’s 1 1/8 circumference allowed a variety of distances. Much was made of th surrounding area, but I had no issue with that in the years I raced there. It has deteriorated since last I saw it, but the locale & infrastructures was a political issue in the dates battle.
                Sorry you missed it, Todd. It was breathtaking, and you could feel the history, flamingoes & all.

                • Davids says:

                  That’s interesting SJ, I knew it was the safest but (probably forgotten) not the fastest. As a teenager I was truly lucky to see Seattle Slew win the Flamingo Stakes there – without doubt, the most exhilarating performance I’ve ever watched. Slew literally took flight the first 8f then coasted home. Spine tingling!!

                  There was a time, 2000s I think?, when a Tech Baron wanted to buy Hialeah and revitalize the track but the deal fell through with Brunetti just not willing to let go. Sad for racing.

                  • SJ says:

                    I last raced there in’92. Because the Fla.HBPA filed a lawsuit against Brunetti for underpayment of purses. he threatened to shut off the water to the backside the week after the meet ended. Most stabled there didn’t have their stalls available yet, especially Keeneland & NYRA. Didn’t affect me, personally, since I had stalls at Fair Hill in Md. It was just an indication of Hialeah’s ominous future. Racing lost a great facility due to greed.

                    • Davids says:

                      Thanks SJ, bystanders never get the overall picture unless you hear it directly from people, like yourself, who are/were fully involved. Let’s hope one day Hialeah is restored to its former glory. Even if it’s not in our lifetime.

      • Davids says:

        I agree with you, Todd. The internet has made accessibility to basically ‘everything’ possible now but at the same time tends to flatten the experience. Once, you were able to appreciate a special event and savor the experience for weeks. These days, ‘everything’ is of the same value via the internet.

        As a schoolboy, friends snuck in a crystal radio into class so we could sneakily hear Nijinsky run in the Epsom Derby which was a thrill of a lifetime. The race wasn’t even live but for weeks we were hyperventilating on whether Nijinsky would win or not. Now, the Epsom Dery is run and won then, within minutes, you attention is directed to some insignificant at Bath or Redcar races et al as if you may miss this spectacle.

        In the 70s, 80s, 90s being able to watch Manchester City play, when you didn’t live nearby, you were limited to viewing “The Big Match” with Brian Moore etc and hope Man City were on the main bill but the anticipation was phenomenal. Now you can see old Man City games from the 60s onwards on YouTube but it doesn’t have the same passion. Nowadays, City are the best team in the world and can be seen live everywhere via the internet but you don’t feel the pain anymore if they were to lose as you once did.

      • Davids says:

        The New York Times and The Washington Post are just about the only ‘real’ newspapers left. Lisa Angeles Times used to be another good newspaper.

      • diana says:

        and yet, some sports have embraced the change of viewing format to short attention grabbing reels well. information avenues change. The towncrier is no more but every person can share their news. I dont think either format is inherently better than the other.

        Racing will either evolve or die.

  11. Matthew W says:

    Ancient Title came east, in 1975 to tackle Mighty Forego, his first race was the Whitney, for its first time a handicap–and ‘Title toted 128, which spotted the field from 9-20 lbs (Forego didn’t make this race, he would have been high weight)…fresh from a four length win in the Hollywood Gold Cup, it was very hot and humid, Pincay got hurt and they flew in Sandy Hawley, to ride Ancient Title, and he led Group Plan by a neck the whole way around, and paid $9…..7/2…….a friend was going out to the race, I got him to float me a $10 win on ‘Title wager, he did, but….I never saw the $35 profit…but my friend stayed my friend, and became an Ancient Title fan, he was my favorite Thoroughbred for several years…

    • Davids says:

      The Ancient Title Stakes is one of my favorite names for a race. Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe being numéro un.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      I’m just curious where the topic of Ancient Title came from. Seems from out of nowhere. Lol

      • Matthew W says:

        I thought you might say that, Steve! A friend knew I loved the horse, and he sent me the NY Times article, about The 1975 Whitney….When I was 13 I used to go with my mom to the Los Al clubhouse on Sat nights, such a smoke filled room! I made friends with a Mr Ward, who was 94…he thought I was an adult, we were good friends, eventually I would ride my bike 15 miles to Los Al, and go home with Mr Ward and his 64 year old daughter, who would make me breakfast and drive me to the backstretch gate, at Hollywood Park—The Wards lived in Inglewood….I made friends with Ancient Title, and his Trainer Mr Stuki, who had 1001 stories to tell, and he liked me-+-I also met Charlie Whittingham, when he came by to feed ‘Title sugar cubes…I told him he was my favorite horse and he said “Mine too..”.. Ancient Title gave everything he had, I saw him coming back after a 5th place finish in the Carlton F Burke, I never saw a more spent racehorse….you get attached to your favorites…there was ‘Title…Forego…a Cal bred gelding named Tulsea …..and Quarter Horses Native Empress and Winning Copy….my favorites today are Ceiling Crusher, The Chosen Vron, Ruby Nell….Ancient Title was my first big crush, I loved how he tried so hard, he wasn’t the most friendly guy he tried to bite—I heard he died early because he never got over his temper issues….

        • Matthew W says:

          Ceiling Crusher has had a growth spurt, I think she is going to be the top older filly next year! I like Ruby Nell so much I approached The Mandella boys and told them I’d like to see her try a gr1 12 furlong turf marathon!

        • Matthew W says:

          And (forgot to say) my old NY friend who made my $10 win wager on Ancient Title….and who thanked me, for the $35—-I was sixteen and so over the top happy, for ‘Title, on that very hot Saratoga afternoon….he had a bad day, so I gifted him my winnings, we both were happy…..and YESTERDAY….forty-eight years later….same guy sends me the 1975 Times piece, the guy was talking about the $9 win price…he only won by a neck neck but it was a strong neck, always holding sway!…then he finishes a close 3rd, to Wajima and Foolish Pleasure, giving big weight to both, and finishing a length in front of Forego, who had 134 lbs! Imaging that! I’m here to tell you it was GREAT…..’Title’s fina l East Coast race was the 1975 Marlboro Cup, he was like 11-1, with Pincay and just stalking the early pace, I thought they were going to win, and then–:-Forego and Wajima blew past as much the best…’Title a distant 3rd, but….third while tiring, by a horse that wanted it, always..

          • Nick says:

            Huge ancient title fan from his sweeping the strub series in 1974 beating Linda’s chief in all 3 races to his gallant tries in the Santa Anita handicap and then in 1977 out of nowhere he freaked at Del Mar and ran one of his best races ! One of the all time greats Ancient title !

            • Matthew W says:

              Nick I was cleaning the A & W Restaurant kitchen, deciding wether to drive the 70 miles down to Del Mar in my ’66 Bug, for the 1977 Del Mar Invitational Handicap, at “about 10 furlongs”….I DID go! Bet a tenner on ‘Title, and he ran “The Race”… .still unbelievable this day….seven years old and he set unreal fractions, and kept going…he was 7-1….

  12. Matthew W says:

    Wonder what happened to Ultimate Gamble, who has not worked since spring, after running 2nd to older….a big colt by Medaglia d’Oro….

  13. Lynda King says:

    There is a good possibility that Good Night Olive who sold for 6 million Tuesday night will return to Chad Brown and will race in 2024.
    I absolutely love this mare, she is so lovely.
    In all probability she will not be not be nominated for an Eclipse Award, but I think she should be. Not an easy thing to do winning back to back to Breeder’s Cup races.

  14. Derek Manthey says:

    I would of commented earlier but with the passing of Cody it’s hard to find the right words. The bell tolls loud for us and it probably cracked! I know he’ll be remembered when we see the name Cody’s Wish in the pedigree of his offspring or a race or whatever. I do know his story will be told from generation to generation and that gives me hope for us. I’m sure he’s in the clover with all those horses that have left us lining up to nuzzle him and that’s a better dealt hand than he got in this realm.

  15. Amy Hurley says:

    You were prescient with your pre-B.C. columns on both White Abarrio and Dutrow as well as Bill Mott, Steve. Hope you had at least a little bit down on them.

    It was so sad about Cody Dorman dying just one day after witnessinig his namesake win his final race in such dramatic fashion. Agreed, it would be pretty cool if Cody is riding Cody’s Wish somewhere, free to move around with no pain or hindrances.

    It was another exciting and enjoyable Breeders Cup at the best location for the races – although I don’t want to have any track be made the permanent host. Somewhat disappointed in Arabian Knight and Tamara, allthough she obviously had an excuse. Let’s hope she comes back healthy and ready to dominate again as a 3 year old, whether or not she can successfully stretch out in distance.

    • Steve haskin says:

      Thanks Amy that worked out well. My White Abarrio – Proxy didnt quite work out. Derma ran like I thought he would in the Derby. Great effort

  16. Lynda King says:

    In a world gone dark and plunging into an abyss awash with anger, hatred, violence, death and destruction, the story of young Cody Dorman was a bright and shining light of goodness, inspiration and hope.

    Thousands of years ago when an unknown ancient first sat on a horse, an irrevocable bond between horse and human was established that defies logic that cannot be explained, that cannot be understood except by those who have experienced it, have felt it.

    From the first time they met Cody’s and Cody’s Wish’s hearts were intertwined forever. They spoke to each other in hushed whispers that only they could hear in their hearts.

    During an interview Cody’s Mom, Kelly, told the story about how Cody spent time each day watching Cody Wish’s races and workouts.There is a saying “that horses give us wings”, a freedom to go places, feel things and see things that otherwise we would not be able to. Cody’s Wish became the wind beneath Cody’s feet that lifted young Cody’s frail body from the prison of his wheelchair and on the ride of his lifetime.

    Every day he lived from the day he was born until Sunday was a gift for his parents, Leslie, his Mom Kelly and his sister, Kylie.
    “We were never as afraid of him dying as we were of him not being able to live.” –Kelly Dorman
    Cody’s Wish gave Cody a purpose, a reason for living and a determination and will to live as long as his namesake raced.

    It has been said that to look into the eyes of a horse one sees a reflection of their souls. There was a photo of their reunion from this past weekend. Cody’s Wish had a look of compassion and caring as he looked at Cody, but there was also a look of concern. We will never know what they said to each other but I rather think it was good-bye.

    Somehow, someway Cody’s Wish made a final push to cross the finish line first. He survived the inquiry and his win stood.
    Hours later Cody earned his wings.

    The story has gone full circle. A wish became a dream and then a gift.

    The final chapter to this story, however, has yet to written. The day will come that Cody’s Wish
    will step onto the Rainbow Bridge to join the Heavenly Herd. Cody will be there waiting on the other side to greet him. Together they sprint across the Heavens for eternity.

    Years from now when many, if not most of us have walked behind the veil, people will read about the 2023 Thoroughbred Horse Racing history and the 2023 Breeder’s Cup. It was a time of hearts that broke, hearts that healed, and hearts that were happy. It was a time of redemption for a disgraced trainer and white horse who proved he belonged.
    It was a time of bitter tears and of joyous tears that washed away the sad ones.

    God Bless you Cody. In your brief life you taught us all so much, things that many of us have forgotten.

    When I think of you, I will smile, for that is how you wanted us to remember you.
    All for the love of a horse and the love of the young man who loved him.

    Cody Dorman certainly earned his wings . Through his work suppporting and representing the Make-A-Wish Foundation and by the daily courage he showed through his whole young life as a son and a

    • arlingtonfan says:

      This is just beautiful, Lynda. You’ve put into words what many of us are feeling.

      Do you by chance remember where you saw the photo of their reunion that you mentioned in your sixth paragraph?

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Thanks Lynda for your beautiful tribute to Cody…

      This story confirms that horses are heavenly therapy for the soul. I am sure that Cody’s Wish exploits on the track fed Cody’s spirit and kept him gleeful the last years of his special life.

      Even the most artful writter could not conceive such a touching tale.

      I would like to see a race named the Cody’s Memorial to celebrate and remember the ethereal love between the two Codies…

    • Deacon says:

      Lynda: Beautiful piece of writing. It was from the heart which made it more special.
      Years of emotion poured out into one blog. As for me, Cody’s Wish was the event of the weekend & that little boy who loved him.

    • Ayleyaell says:

      Thank you, Lynda. What a beautiful tribute. It touched my heart as did the two Codys.

    • Ms Blacktype says:

      You’ve just put into words what so many of us feel and can’t express. Thank you for being such an important part of this community.

    • Lynda King says:

      Thank you all for your kind words.

      If you have not had the opportunity to read Cody’s obituary, please do on the Stotts-Phelps-MCreary Funeral Home website.

      He was such an amazing young man in so many ways.

      Steve, you are right, the tribute was indeed a catharsis for me. I could not begin to write on Monday. The loss was still weighing heavily on my mind. When I read what his Mom said that Cody wanted to be remembered with a smile and not tears, it was very healing.

      You might all have heard that a number of people are getting together to ask that a sprint race be named after Cody in his honor.

  17. Steve Haskin says:

    When was the last time th BC Juvenile winner had a faster Thoro-Gaph number than the BC Classic winner? How about Fiercenss negative-1 1/2 and White Abarrio negative-1, down from a negative-6 in the Whitney. That :27 2/5 final quarter didnt help.

    • Davids says:

      That’s interesting, Steve. No doubt they slowed the track for safety precautions. Is White Abarrio a true 10f horse? If the track had been faster would Proxy have engulfed White Abarrio or would the latter have won by a larger margin?

      • Todd Vaughn says:

        Davids, i believe White Abarrio is not really a 10 f horse, especially on a deep track, and i believe Rick Dutrow knew that. Being the best horse, he was able to get the separation he needed to win. Dutrow was practically salivating at running in the Saudi Cup, a one turn 9f, where Dutrow feels W A is unbeatable.

        • Davids says:

          Todd, that’s my thoughts as well. The Saudi Cup should be perfect for White Abarrio. You see quite a few top class US horses managing to score at 10f but they lack stamina to go beyond that threshold. Even the Tapits need stamina support from the dam to win/perform admirably in the Belmont Stakes.

          If the Breeders’ Cup Classic was 12f, Proxy sails home.

      • Matthew W says:

        Both SoCal tracks can produce fast one turn races, but for whatever reason the two turn races don’t come out as fast, I think the tracks are somewhat tiring …

        • Davids says:

          Matthew, do you think it’s the Bob Baffert influence? Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. With the Baffert runners however, you have quality runners that can rocket to the lead and stay there.

          I’m missing Flightline, that charge of exhilaration you got when the great horse simply exploded past his flailing opponents. “Good Night, Vienna!!”

      • You’re forgetting one thing if the track was faster ….. Would Arabian Knight backed up ?!?!?!

        • Davids says:

          Downthestretch, valid argument but from what I could see Arabian Knight didn’t appear to be affected by the track as much as the intimidation coming from White Abarrio. Reminded me of his performance in the Haskel Invitational but this is pure speculation.

    • Deacon says:

      White Abarrio is a nice horse who came into his own the latter part of this season. Arabian Night sets torrid fractions & WA comes home in 2:02 & change & wins. Not that impressive to me. I believe that this may have been the most sub-par field for a BCC, at least in recent memory. Too many injuries to our top 3 year olds & the older horse crop had very few stars. Next year looks like the same. Most of the very good 3 years have been retired. I truly hope our new 3 year old crop are standouts.
      The turf races were pretty good. Aiden O’Brien proved again why he is a top trainer.
      As you mentioned him Steve, Fierceness looks the part of a budding champion.

      • Lynda King says:

        Deacon, I tend to agree with you that because of injuries, the loss of Rocket, scratches and several superstars being retired it was not exactly a stellar field.

        I think Derma Sotogake ran a great race. If it had been a longer distance, I think he would have blew by White Abarrio.

        All in all though, I am very happy for Rick Dutrow and White Abarrio’s connections.

        • Deacon says:


          I am very happy for Rick Dutrow, he rubbed the salt right back in the face of those racing brass. That 10 sentence was ridiculous. I have my own feeling on many of these big shots who believe they control most aspects of the sport. Especially the stewards at Churchill Downs. I am just happy that most of these equine beauties came back safe & sound. Very few bright spots this year un horse racing IMO. All the deaths & break downs really got to many of us. Cody Dorman was a beautiful spirit, his story saved me, as did Cody’s Wish.
          I still think Aiden O’Brien & Bill Mott are 2 of the best trainers today, & of course Richard Mandella.

  18. Clownskill says:

    I guess all is forgiven with regard to Dutrow.

    Well, not with me. I won’t forgive or forget a guy that got banned for 10 years. 10 FREAKING YEARS!!! For cryin’ out loud, they found syringes in his desk. He was as crooked as they come, moving horses up 10 lengths off the claim supposedly on hay oats and water. Well, we know that wasn’t the case, don’t we.

    For one of the most infamous drug cheats who ever saddled a horse to win a Classic immediately upon reinstatement is not a good look for the sport. It’s a joke and you can’t convince me otherwise.

    I never thought my support for racing would wane. I was wrong, Babe.

    • Matthew W says:

      I’m two degrees removed from the guy who is a terrific horseman, Please do not assume he’s a cheat! A guy I respect in this sport told me he was thrown a savage deal, by NYRA…

      • Clownskill says:

        I don’t buy it. You don’t get 10 year bans unless there’s a lot dirt under your nails. So, maybe, he deserved, what, 5 years? 4? That’s still a long time.

        You can’t convince me it’s not a bad look for racing when a known cheat immediately wins the biggest race in America upon reinstatement. Bad optics, as they say now.